Maui News

Hawaiʻi Supreme Court Vacates Permit for TMT

December 2, 2015, 5:13 PM HST
* Updated December 2, 5:15 PM
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Photo credit: Darde Gamayo.

Mauna Kea file photo credit: Darde Gamayo.

The Hawaiʻi Supreme Court issued an opinion today vacating the circuit court’s May 5, 2014 decision that had affirmed the Board of Land and Natural Resources’ Conservation District Use Permit that was granted on April 12, 2013, for the Thirty Meter Telescope at Mauna Kea.

According to court opinion, a contested case hearing should have been held before the permit was granted.  The opinion states, “While UHH and the Board argue that the February 2011 decision was “preliminary” and subject to revision, the fact remains that the Board issued the permit prior to holding the contested case hearing. This procedure was improper, and was inconsistent with the statutory definition of a contested case…”

In summary, the opinion said, “BLNR put the cart before the horse when it approved the permit before the contested case hearing was held. Once the permit was granted, Appellants were denied the most basic element of procedural due process–-an opportunity to be heard at a meaningful time and in a meaningful manner. Our Constitution demands more.”

A brief statement was posted on the Thirty Meter Telescope Facebook page at 3:25 p.m. saying, “This is not a judgement against TMT, but rather against the State’s process in granting the permits. We’ll have an official statement for you shortly.”

The tmt.org website was inaccessible on Wednesday afternoon.

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