Thursday, December 3, 2015

Hawaii Supreme Court vacates Thirty Meter Telescope permit on Mauna Kea, Navy on standby in dengue battle, U.S. Supreme Court puts Native Hawaiian election on hold, Maui tackles homelessness, Kauai addresses bed and breakfasts, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

photo courtesy Occupy Hilo Media
Thirty Meter Telescope protester, courtesy Occupy Hilo Media
In a ruling that could set back development of the Thirty Meter Telescope for years, the Supreme Court of Hawaii on Wednesday invalidated the permit allowing construction of the $1.4 billion project on Mauna Kea. The court, in a unanimous decision, said the state Board of Land and Natural Resources erred when it approved the project’s Conservation District Use Permit before holding a contested case hearing to consider evidence about whether the permit should be granted. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Supreme Court has voted unanimously to vacate the permit allowing the Thirty Meter Telescope to be built atop Mauna Kea, a mountain on the east side of Hawaii Island. The justices concluded that the state Board of Land and Natural Resources violated due process when it approved a permit for the $1.4 billion project in 2011 prior to holding a contested case hearing. Civil Beat.

A long-awaited Hawaii Supreme Court ruling Wednesday invalidating a construction permit for what would be one of the world's largest telescopes represents a major setback for the $1.4 billion project on a mountain astronomers tout for having perfect star-gazing conditions. Associated Press.

The Hawaii Supreme Court on Wednesday vacated the $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope’s permit to build an observatory atop Mauna Kea and sent the case back to the state Board of Land and Natural Resources for a contested case hearing. Pacific Business News.

The Hawaii Supreme Court voted unanimously, today, to vacate the permit allowing the Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT) to be constructed on Mauna Kea. The court ruled that the state Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) wrongfully approved a conservation use permit in 2011 prior to holding a contested case hearing. Project officials will have to return to the BLNR to get new approval for the project. Hawaii Independent.

The Hawaii Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled the permit allowing construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope near the summit of Mauna Kea is invalid. According to the court, the Board of Land and Natural Resources shouldn’t have issued a permit to build the $1.4 billion next-generation telescope until a contested case hearing to evaluate a petition by a group challenging the project’s approval could be held. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii Supreme Court on Wednesday invalidated a permit awarded for the construction of one of the world's largest telescopes on Mauna Kea, a mountain many Native Hawaiians consider sacred. Associated Press.

The permit allowing the Thirty Meter Telescope to be built and operated on Mauna Kea has been thrown out by the Hawaii Supreme Court. In the conclusion of a 58 page opinion written by Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald, the court vacated the lower circuit court’s findings of fact and judgment.  Big Island Video News.

The state’s highest court has revoked a permit for construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea. The Hawai‘i Supreme Court ruled that due process was violated when it approved the permit for the telescope before holding a contested case hearing. TMT may now have to go through the process again if they still want to construct the $1.4 billion telescope. Hawaii Public Radio.

The HawaiĘ»i 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. Maui Now.

The state "put the cart before the horse" when it issued a permit for construction of the Thirty-Meter Telescope before a contested case hearing on the issue was resolved, the state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday. Hawaii News Now.

Construction of a Thirty Meter Telescope has been halted again. On Wednesday, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled the permit to construct the telescope on Mauna Kea is invalid. TMT opponents are calling this their most important victory yet. KITV4.


The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday formally granted an injunction blocking the Na‘i Aupuni Hawaiian self-governance election while the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals considers the case challenging it. Under the order, Na‘i Aupuni officials are prohibited from counting ballots and certifying the winners of the election until the appellate court makes a decision. Star-Advertiser.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday blocked the counting of ballots in the ongoing Nai Aupuni election until a lower court takes action on a related lawsuit. The ruling was a blow to supporters of an election of delegates to a Native Hawaiian convention on self-governance, but a big victory to those who oppose it. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii State Ethics Commission has been talking for more than a year about how to improve its online electronic filing system. The current system by which lawmakers and other government officials file required disclosure forms on finances, gifts, lobbying and travel is clunky — requiring, for example, users to submit PDF documents, either printed out or as electronic attachments. Civil Beat.

Officials are questioning the head of NextEra Energy Hawaii about what would happen if the company takes over Hawaiian Electric, the state's main utility company. The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission's chief counsel Thomas Gorak questioned NextEra Energy Hawaii President Eric Gleason on Wednesday during one of a series of public hearings that will last several weeks. Associated Press.

NextEra Energy Inc. is expected to have up to five of the company's executives join the Hawaiian Electric Co. executive team if the $4.3 billion sale of the Honolulu-based utility to the Florida energy giant goes through. Pacific Business News.

Every time transparency takes a hit at otherwise open hearings to decide the fate of NextEra Energy’s $4.3 billion acquisition of Hawaiian Electric Industries, it stinks up the process. That’s the perspective of Randy Iwase, the head of the Public Utilities Commission who is acting as a sort of lead judge in the three-day old hearing at Blaisdell Center. Civil Beat.

NextEra Energy Merger: The Real Action Is In The Politicking. The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission will ultimately decide if the $4.3 billion deal should be approved, but that hasn’t stopped polling, press conferences and news releases. Civil Beat.

While charter school leaders are pushing back against what they say is too much oversight by the Hawaii State Public Charter School Commission, a state report released Tuesday criticizes the commission for just the opposite. Civil Beat.


Friends, family members, employees, well-known political figures and business executives have submitted letters totaling 200 pages to U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway urging her to go easy on Honolulu telecommunications executive Al Hee as he faces several years in prison for tax fraud. Star-Advertiser.

Construction is underway on a temporary homeless shelter in Kakaako. The state says the location is perfect because of it’s location and proximity to transportation, but it will only be open for two years. KHON2.

Installing residential solar-energy systems is at its peak this time of year as homeowners try to cash in on end of year tax incentives.   But as HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports, the industry has taken a number of hits recently that have already reduced demand. Hawaii Public Radio.

Nearly three-quarters of a century after bombs fell on Oahu, launching America into World War II, war dead and veterans on both sides of the conflict — as well as the reconciliation with Japan that is still ongoing — will be memorialized and highlighted on Dec. 7. Star-Advertiser.

Former home of legendary surfer Duke Kahanamoku for sale. Hawaii News Now.


The U.S. Navy is on standby to help battle dengue fever on the Big Island, the director of the state Department of Health said Wednesday. Director Ginny Pressler made the announcement during a three-hour informational session with the Hawaii County Council, participating with fellow physicians Sen. Josh Green and Rep. Richard Creagan, county Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira and Aaron Ueno, Big Island district health officer for the DOH. West Hawaii Today.

Mosquito repellent has found its way back into Big Island stores — although stocks and selection are thin in places. Tribune-Herald.

Aloha Petroleum will spend $3.25 million to update five fuel storage facilities statewide after violating the federal Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act at its East Hilo bulk fuel storage terminal. Civil Beat.

Aloha Petroleum agreed to pay $650,000 to settle Clean Air and Clean Water acts violations at its Hilo East bulk fuel storage terminal, one of the company’s two fuel storage facilities near Hilo Harbor, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Tribune-Herald.

A large swath of North Kohala coastline with environmental and cultural significance is on its way toward preservation. The Hawaii County Council unanimously gave the go-ahead Wednesday for the Finance Department to begin negotiations to purchase the Hapuu to Kapanaia cultural corridor, a 167-acre corridor that includes two major heiau from Kamehameha I’s time. It also approved negotiations for the purchase of Halelua, a 50-acre parcel that includes much of the lower Halawa Gulch. West Hawaii Today.


Mayor Alan Arakawa's administration has submitted five bills and a proposed budget amendment to the Maui County Council aimed at "nuisance" behavior associated with homeless people. Maui News.

Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa's administration has submitted five bills aimed at enforcing laws surrounding "nuisance" behavior and a proposed budget amendment to address the growing homelessness crisis. Associated Press.

Something to lose sleep about: The battle with the coqui frog. One becomes a thousand, and the annoying noise makes ‘chickens look like nothing’ Maui News.

A few weeks ago the state Land Use Commission LUC met at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center to discuss the final environmental impact statement (EIS) for Olowalu Town, a massive development project pushed by Bill Frampton and Dave Ward. The project is billed as a “complete community”–containing its own housing, public infrastructure, recreation, commercial development and open space. The LUC didn’t decide the fate of the EIS (or the project), but will meet again at the MACC on Dec. 7 to take it up again. MauiTime.

Opinion: Looks like the special Maui County Liquor Commission subcommittee tasked with crafting a selection process to find a new Liquor Control (LC) Director has been busy. And in contrast to the Liquor Commission’s secret October machinations that led to the double-crowning of Commissioner Dana “son of former LC Director Joe” Souza (up-ended only by Souza’s surprising and never-explained decision to decline the position, made just days before he was to assume office), the selection committee’s work is being documented in public records. MauiTime.


Bed and breakfasts were up for discussion again at Wednesday’s County Council meeting. Councilman Ross Kagawa summed up the goal of the current proposed B&B bill, saying that it’s a chance to control where and how homestays and B&Bs operate. Garden Island.

The Kauai County Council chairman threatened to have another councilmember removed from a meeting Wednesday. An argument broke out during public testimony on Bill 2606, which aims to “implement a homestead tax cap for owner-occupied properties that receive a homeowner exemption and also for long term affordable rental properties.” Garden Island.

One of three public meetings to be held in Hawaii and Southern California about future Navy training activities in Pacific waters will take place tonight. The Navy is preparing an evaluation of potential environmental effects associated with its planned military training, testing and research in these areas after 2018. Garden Island.

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