[From the Office of the Governor: HONOLULU] – Governor David Ige today announced his proposed way forward for the stewardship of Mauna Kea.
The full script of the governor’s comments, as prepared, may be downloaded from the website: http://governor.hawaii.gov/.
Governor Ige thanked the Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT) team for halting construction to allow him to listen to and learn from those with differing points of view on the issues surrounding the project. During the timeout, the governor consulted with the University of Hawai‘i, TMT officials, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Native Hawaiian lineal and cultural descendants, the Department of Land and Natural Resources, and individual supporters and opponents of the project. He also visited the summit of Mauna Kea.
Governor Ige said, “My review found that the TMT project took the appropriate steps and received the approvals needed to move forward. The project has the right to proceed with construction, and the state will support and enforce its right to do so. We also acknowledge the right to protest this activity. We will protect the right to a peaceful protest and will act to ensure public safety and the right to use our roads for lawful purposes.”
The governor noted that there is a court challenge to the project and he will abide by the decision of the courts on this matter.
Governor Ige said his review also found that, “In many ways, we have failed the mountain. Whether you see it from a cultural perspective or from a natural resource perspective, we have not done right by a very special place and we must act immediately to change that.”
The governor said the State of Hawai'i must change the way it exercises responsibility for Mauna Kea and proposed to change the management of the entire summit, all of which is state land, to bring cultural voices into the leadership structure. He announced the formation of a Mauna Kea Cultural Council which will work with the Board and Department of Land and Natural Resources and the governor’s office to ensure that all acts from here forward are sensitive to and observant of the host culture.
He also said that the state will increase its oversight of the activities currently taking place on the mountain under existing leases and sub-leases.
Governor Ige asked the University of Hawai‘i to take 10 significant actions related to enhanced stewardship in general and to the Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT), specifically.
Governor Ige asked the TMT team to increase its support for Native Hawaiian students interested in science and technology through admission to and scholarships at its own or partner institutions with first priority given to students on Hawai?i Island and then to students statewide.
The governor concluded by committing to take a much longer view of our cultural and natural resources and to plan for them in 10 years, 40 years or even 100 years.