Lā 351: (Hilo, Hawaii) Oral arguments in the agency appeal of the BLNR issuance of the TMT sublease is to be heard by Judge Greg Nakamura in the Environmental Court of the Third Circuit Court at 10am on March 11th.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (3/9/16)

Legal Appeal of TMT’s Sublease To Be Heard in Hilo Court

(Hilo, Hawaii) Oral arguments in the agency appeal of the State Board of Land and Natural Resources’ (BLNR) issuance of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) sublease is to be heard by Judge Greg Nakamura in the Environmental Court of the Third Circuit Court at 10:00 a.m. on March 11th.

E. Kalani Flores, a Hawaii Community College professor and cultural practitioner with traditional Native Hawaiian practices on Mauna Kea, challenged the validity of this sublease on the grounds that BLNR failed to follow proper due process and that they also violated State Constitution and statutory laws. Flores is representing himself in this case. Defending this appeal are attorneys of the State Department of the Attorney General representing the State and the private law firm of Carlsmith Ball LLP representing the University of Hawaii.

Flores stressed that, “The governor-appointed BLNR violated State laws with the issuance of the TMT sublease and the State failed their legal obligation to protect Native Hawaiian rights and the natural and cultural resources of these public lands on Mauna a Wakea.” He also asserted that, “The integrity of this process was further compromised when a Board member with an obvious conflict of interest was allowed to actively participate and vote on this agenda item.”

In December 2015, the State Supreme Court invalidated the conservation district use permit (CDUP) that the BLNR previously issued for the proposed TMT project and this matter has since been remanded back to the BLNR for a new contested case hearing. This appeal will focus on whether or not BLNR erred in denying Flores a contested case hearing regarding the sublease issuance. Arguments to be heard in the Hilo courtroom regarding this appeal of the TMT sublease are similar to those brought forth in the successful appeal of the TMT CDUP.

Source E Kalani Flores