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About Mauna Kea

Mauna Kea is one of the tallest and most sacred mountains on Earth.  At 13,796 ft above sea level, it is the highest point in the Pacific Ocean.  Measured from its base at the bottom of the sea, it is the tallest mountain on Planet Earth.

Mauna Kea is the home of many gods and goddesses, and the site of many burials and shrines. 

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Top Reasons for the Immediate Halting of TMT Construction

Submitted to Governor David Ige April 1, 2015


The TMT project cannot legally meet the eight criteria for construction (i.e. Land Use) in The Mauna Kea Conservation District.  There is no legal way to waive this requirement, nor any exception to it.  Requirements include the following, amongst others (Quoted from HAR §13-5-30, emphasis added):

  • The proposed land use will not cause substantial adverse impact to existing natural resources within the surrounding area, community or region;

  • The existing physical and environmental aspects of the land, such as natural beauty and open space characteristics, will be preserved or improved upon,

  • The proposed land use will not be materially detrimental to the public health, safety and welfare.

Both the UH/TMT Corporation and BLNR admit the TMT project will cause adverse, significant and substantial impact to the cultural and natural resources of Mauna Kea. Considering this, the TMT project is in clear violation of the law.  The State of Hawaiʻi is likewise in very serious violation, for allowing this illegal project to proceed.

 BLNR acted improperly in issuing both the CDUP and the Consent to Begin.  BLNR was fully aware that the TMT cannot meet the legal requirements of a Conservation District. BLNR thereby went directly against its own mandate of natural resource protection in issuing the CDUP.  Unfortunately, the only explanation possible for these actions by those mandated to protect the land and natural resources is institutionalized corruption on the part of the previous administration.  Unless these permits are revoked immediately, the new administration will prove itself deeply corrupt as well.  You are fully aware that there are pending lawsuits in the Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA) challenging the TMT project.  In a civil society the courts are the arbitrators of all questions of law.   Legal questions are not resolved, so the TMT Corporation should not be moving ahead.  The BLNR was also fully aware of these legal challenges when it issued the consent to begin without waiting for the court to rule.  To highlight this incredible wrongdoing, the University of Hawaiʻi just requested an extension of time in the ICA court – an attempt to stall the court’s review of the case, just as TMT bulldozers were beginning to roll. The Governor must stop this wrongdoing now.


The TMT is desecrating at a criminal level.  The legal definition of desecration in Hawaii is that it will cause "outrage" in a certain segment of the population (HRS 7-11-1107).  Burials, monuments, and places of worship are all specifically named as affording special protection from this crime, which warrants serious penalties, including imprisonment and substantial fines.  No legal exceptions exist.  As you must know, Mauna Kea has literally hundreds of sacred sites, including over 34 burials, some containing multiple bodies. Hawaii Loa, Lilinoe, and living people’s grandparents have all been laid to rest in undisclosed locations within this area.  Harm to Mauna Kea therefore succinctly meets the definition of criminal desecration.  Clearly, the illegal construction of an 18-story structure, complete with excavation of a sacred area and use of toxic chemicals in great quantity, violates this statute.  The State is currently complicit in this violation, by allowing construction to proceed. 

The University of Hawai’i is abusing its management authority.  Earlier this week, we were informed that the University of Hawaiʻi closed the Mauna Kea Summit Road due to “weather” considerations, purportedly for safety reasons, and then immediately proceeded to facilitate the bringing in of heavy earth-moving equipment for TMT construction.  This is only one example of such abuse, which has spanned many, many incidents.  UH is the primary violator of environmental and cultural statutes on Mauna Kea.  As such, it has absolutely no right to play an enforcement role of any kind.  The State of Hawaiʻi, including the Governor’s office and DLNR, are complicit in this abuse as long as you continue to allow UH to exercise management authority over these lands.


DLNR is not enforcing the law, as it is required to do, but facilitating environmental violations instead.  DLNR, not UH, has the enforcement authority in a Conservation District.  This authority cannot be transferred.  Until such time as the greater issues regarding the legality of the State itself are resolved, DLNR has the responsibility to stop violators, such as those currently operating bulldozers in the Conservation District while court proceeds.  It is no secret that destructive construction, and not environmental or cultural protection, is the University’s primary objective on Mauna Kea.  Therefore, DLNR’s shrugging off of enforcement duties to those known violators is truly a criminal act.  The Office of the Governor is part of this crime, unless this is stopped immediately.


BLNR’s consent of the TMT Sublease was in violation of State and US constitutional and statutory provisions.  These violations of State and Federal laws have resulted in the State along with its agencies and agents not protecting the interests of the public land trust, its beneficiaries, and the traditional and customary rights of Native Hawaiians. Instead, the business interests of the Thirty Meter Telescope International Observatory LLC, a Delaware company based in California, have overridden the citizens’ interest in these public lands.


Many, many other reasons for an immediate halt to any construction on Mauna Kea exist as well. These have been repeated numerous times, and it is this administration’s duty to understand them, and take action accordingly.  More information can be found at the following websites: (TMT info from, and (online photo march showing community support for protection of Mauna Kea).  If further information is needed, please contact Kealoha Pisciotta immediately.  However, Mauna Kea cannot wait for information gathering at this point.  You know what is needed.  Please STOP TMT CONSTRUCTION NOW.

Protect Mauna Kea

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