Telescope Protesters Erect Mauna Kea Building Without Permit

Sep 5, 2019

HILO, Hawaii — Demonstrators opposed to a huge telescope planned for the summit of Mauna Kea on the Big Island have constructed a wooden building in a lava field near their telescope protest camp without obtaining a permit, officials said

Protesters opposed to construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope have assembled the floors, walls and roof of a wooden structure near Puu Huluhulu, a volcanic cone across from the Mauna Kea Access Road, The Star-Advertiser reported Wednesday.

Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim has asked the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to investigate the structure and "take necessary and appropriate action."

County authorities have notified the activists no permit was approved for the structure, Hawaiian Homes Commission Chairman William J. Aila said.

"Following a posted noticed to vacate, DHHL will remove the structure as soon as resources become available," Aila said.

A timeline for action was not determined.

The demonstrators don't want the telescope built because they say it could damage land considered sacred by some Native Hawaiians.

"We have no intention of establishing a permanent village within this refuge," said the Royal Order of Kamehameha I, a state order established in 1865 to defend Hawaii's sovereignty.

Construction of the building was brought to the state's attention as well.

State officials were "looking into whether there have been any lawful means undertaken in building this and erecting it on this parcel of property," State Attorney General Clare Connors said. "To date, we have found nothing to indicate that it has received permits, that it has received any permission, and as far as the state is concerned, it appears to be an unauthorized structure that will have to be removed."