(Hawaii) Governor David Ige signs the state’s Board of Land and Natural Resources emergency rule further limiting access to Mauna Kea in an attempt to assert control to the mountain following months of protests over the Thirty Meter Telescope project. The 120-day emergency rule restricts access at night between the hours of 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. to anyone not traveling in a vehicle and prohibits camping on the mountain within 1 mile of the summit road at all times.
The emergency rule will go into effect as soon as it is filed with the Lt. Governor’s office. Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement officers will be stationed on the mountain nightly between the hours of 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. to ensure the public is aware of the new rule and complying.
Opponents of the controversial Thirty Meter Telescope project argue the rule criminalizes their peaceful protest. Native Hawaiians say it violates their constitutional protected right to cultural and religious practice. Hunters have expressed concern the restrictions would prevent them from putting food on their tables. State officials say the regulations are needed to ensure the safety of everyone who wishes to use the mountain and quick action is needed to regain order and safety after reported incidents of violence, harrassment and vandalism creating an environment in which people did not feel safe enough to report to work on the mountain. Last Friday, the board voted 5-2 to pass the emergency rule, citing ‘imminent peril to the public health or natural resources.’