State Plans to Remove Enforcement from Mauna Kea

Governor David Ige announced at a press conference on Thursday that he will withdraw all State law enforcement personnel from Mauna Kea, after the Thirty-Meter Telescope International Observatory informed the Governor that it would not move forward with construction at this time.

In a statement following the press conference, Governor Ige said the decision was made after being informed the TMT is not ready to move forward with construction

“Today, the state reduced its personnel on Mauna Kea,” said Governor Ige. “We made this decision after we were informed that TMT is not prepared to move forward with construction on Mauna Kea at this time.

“State personnel have been deployed to assist the Hawaiʻi County Police Department and to help ensure public safety and safe access for Thirty Meter Telescope equipment and personnel. State personnel and resources will continue to be available upon request to support Hawaiʻi County’s efforts to restore full public access on Mauna Kea Access Road. 

“While I am disappointed that TMT will not move forward at this time, I hope this will allow for some respite during the holiday season. I also remain committed to continuing the many conversations that are currently taking place. I know that we can do great things when we work together, and I am hopeful that our community will be stronger going forward.

“I want to thank the officers of the Hawaiʻi County Police Department, as well as our state law enforcement officers at the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Public Safety and the Attorney General’s office.”

Chief Paul Ferreira of the Hawai`i Police Department has stated that he will withdraw all police personnel from Maunakea by 3:30 p.m. on Friday, December 20, according to Mayor Harry Kim.

Mayor Kim said that there was no information regarding TMT’s timetable, as to if or when they will resume planning for the construction of the telescope on Maunakea.  

In the meantime, Mayor Kim said that the County government is working to establish communication with the kia‘i to address the current situation, with the intent of restoring flow of traffic and public access to Maunakea Road to all of the community.

“It is my goal that this will be the beginning of a true meeting with all parties to see how this issue can be resolved, in finding a way forward,” Mayor Kim said in a Thursday written statement.

File image provided by Maui Watch Community Network Partner KITV Island News.

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