Lā 198: Court invalidates Mauna Kea emergency rule

By Star-Advertiser staff POSTED: 6:40 p.m. HST, Oct 9, 2015 LAST UPDATED: 6:51 p.m. HST, Oct 9, 2015

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A Circuit Court judge has issued a ruling invalidating the state's Mauna Kea emergency rule aimed at curbing protests against the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope atop the Big Island mountain.

The court granted a partial motion for summary judgment, according to a joint statement issued late Friday by state Attorney General Douglas Chin and state Board of Land and Natural Resources Chairwoman Suzanne Case.

“The state acknowledges the court’s decision and will abide by it," the statement said. "We remind people traveling to Mauna Kea that even in light of today’s ruling existing laws and rules remain. It is always illegal to block the road. This includes standing in the road or placing obstructions in the road. These laws will continue to be enforced."

The state land board approved the emergency rule after a heated July 10 public meeting. State officials argued it was necessary to take swift, emergency action because protesters camping on the mountain were creating dangerous conditions.

The rule prohibited being within a mile of the Mauna Kea access road between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m., unless in a moving vehicle. The rule also prohibited, at any time, sleeping bags, camping stoves, tens and propane burners on the mountain.