Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Wednesday, November 08, 2017
Lawsuit: OHA Grabs for Control of Mauna Kea
By News Release @ 3:26 PM :: 2659 Views :: Greenmail, Higher Education, OHA

 

OHA files lawsuit against state for mismanagement of Mauna Kea

News Release from Office of Hawaiian Affairs

HONOLULU (Nov. 8, 2017) – The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) filed a lawsuit yesterday in First Circuit Court against the State of Hawaiʻi and the University of Hawaiʻi (UH) for their longstanding and well-documented mismanagement of Mauna Kea.

OHA’s complaint requests the court to order the state to fulfill its trust obligations relating to Mauna Kea and to terminate UH’s general lease for the mountain for breach of the lease’s terms.

“The state and UH have failed to properly mālama Mauna Kea and have demonstrated their inability to ensure that the environmental and cultural significance of the mountain is recognized and protected,” said OHA Trustee Dan Ahuna, the chair of OHA’s Ad Hoc Committee on Mauna Kea. “This is not about any one telescope. This lawsuit is about addressing the state’s failure to manage the entire mountain for nearly half a century.”

“It’s time to abandon any hope that UH is capable or even willing to provide the level of aloha and attention to Mauna Kea that it deserves,” Ahuna continued. “We need to come together as a community to completely re-think how we care for the mauna, and that starts with cancelling the university’s master lease.”

Four state audits have documented and criticized the state and UH’s mismanagement of Mauna Kea. The initial audit from 1998 concluded that “little was done” to protect the natural resources on Mauna Kea since the first telescope was constructed in 1968. The audit further noted that UH did not allocate sufficient resources to protect Mauna Kea’s natural resources because it focused primarily on astronomy development.

The three follow-up state audits revealed that while some progress had been made, more needed to be done. In a 2010 study, the university conceded that from a cumulative perspective, past, present and reasonably foreseeable future activities resulted in substantial and adverse impacts to the mauna’s cultural, archaeological, historical and natural resources. In 2015, the leadership of both the state and the university publicly admitted to failing to meet their management responsibilities. Gov. David Ige said that the state has “not done right by” and “failed” the mountain, and UH President David Lassner stated that the university “has not yet met all of [its] obligations to the mountain or the expectations of the community.”

As trustees of Mauna Kea, both the state and UH have breached their moral and legal obligations to manage this important place. OHA has identified countless issues and failings that have attributed to the continued mismanagement of Mauna Kea by the state and UH, including:

  • Failure to budget and fund proper management of Mauna Kea;
  • Failure to prudently negotiate sublease terms – for example, by allowing 11 of 13 telescopes to not pay rent;
  • Failure to adequately implement the 2009 Comprehensive Management Plan, with 32 of the 54 management actions that specifically affect Native Hawaiians remaining incomplete;
  • Failure to create an environment respectful of Mauna Kea’s cultural landscape, including by not adequately protecting Native Hawaiian traditional and customary rights and practices on Mauna Kea;
  • Failure to manage access to Mauna Kea and activities on Mauna Kea, which has led to vehicular accidents and personal injuries and deaths, and hazardous material spills; and
  • Failure to manage observatory development and decommissioning.

Over the decades, OHA has continuously advocated for improved management with the Legislature, UH Board of Regents, UH’s Office of Mauna Kea Management and BLNR. In 2002, OHA filed a federal lawsuit to force NASA to conduct a more comprehensive environmental study for an observatory project that was proposed for Mauna Kea but eventually abandoned. With growing concern regarding the management of Mauna Kea, OHA entered into a mediated process with the state and UH in 2015 to address these management shortcomings. Ultimately, the nearly two-year process was unsuccessful.

“The state and UH have failed as trustees and stewards of this beloved and sacred place. It’s been nearly 20 years since the first audit identified major issues with the management of Mauna Kea, and it is unacceptable that these concerns continue to remain,” said Kamana‘opono Crabbe, OHA’s Chief Executive Officer. “Having exhausted all our options, we are compelled to file this lawsuit to hold the state accountable for its mismanagement.”

For more information about OHA’s lawsuit, visit www.oha.org/maunakea

Resources:

---30---

DLNR Statement Regarding OHA Complaint, Nov. 8, 2017

"We are in the process of reviewing the complaint.  DLNR remains committed to its stated mission of enhancing, protecting, conserving and managing Hawaii’s unique and limited natural, cultural and historic resources held in public trust...in partnership with others from the public and private sectors. We will comment further at an appropriate time”

Coverage: 

SA: The suit ends a two-year, behind-the-scenes effort by OHA to wrest some control away from the university

BIVN: Statement by Dan Ahuna

HNN: "To say that there's been gross mismanagement is not accurate at all and quite frankly not fair," said UH spokesman Dan Meisenzahl.

HNN: “"This is not about any one telescope. This is about addressing the state's failure to manage the entire mountain”

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940

ABCDEFG Blog

ACA Signups Hawaii

ACCE

ALEC

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Conservative Alliance

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii

AMVETS-Hawaii

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

Conservative Forum for Hawaii

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii

DeedySupport.com

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crime Victims' Rights

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Families for Educational Choice

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Senate Informer

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Hawaii Votes

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

HIEC.Coop

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube

HPACC

Hump Day Report

Hunting, Farming and Fishing Assoc.

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

Judgepedia Hawaii

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

KeyWiki

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii

NARTH

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii

OHA Lies

Ohana Policy Group

OurFutureHawaii.com

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons 

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Salvage The Rail

Save the Plastic Bag

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu 

Sink the Jones Act

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Copenull

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

TEA Party Maui

TFB Micronesia

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

United Veterans Hawaii

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT