UH, TMT Ask Land Board Not to Start Contested Case Hearing

The University of Hawaii at Hilo and TMT International Observatory, LLC, in a letter to the Hawai`i Attorney General, have asked that the state Board of Land and Natural Resources not initiate at this time a contested case hearing regarding BLNR’s consent to a sublease to Thirty Meter Telescope builders on Mauna Kea.

On December 16, 2016, Hilo circuit court judge Greg Nakamura, now retired, vacated BLNR’s consent to a sublease by UH to TMT because no contested case was held. A contested case had been requested by E. Kalani Flores.

UH and BLNR appealed Judge Nakamura’s decision and the appeal is now pending before the Hawaii Supreme Court.

In a separate appeal, several parties including E. Kalani Flores have asked the Hawaii Supreme Court to overturn BLNR’s approval of a conservation district land use permit to UH, after a lengthy contested case proceeding before retired state judge Riki May Amano, to build the Thirty Meter Telescope on Maunakea.

In Friday’s request that a contested case hearing regarding the sublease not be started, lawyers for UH and TMT state:

Given the passage of time, the [Flores] case is pending before the Hawaii Supreme Court on appeal, and the full contested case hearing in [the conservation district land use permit] has been completed, with Mr. Flores’s full participation. While initiating a contested case proceeding was not limited by any court, as a matter of judicial economy and to avoid duplication or conflicting results it is appropriate to allow the Supreme Court to fully consider the fully briefed appeal and await the decision-making process.”