Mar 18 2010

Justice for Hawaiians: Mauna Kea

Justice for Hawaiians: Mauna Kea

Reposted from Kahea: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance

For 40 years, the people of Hawai’i have shared Mauna Kea with the international astronomy community–on the promise of proper stewardship of the fragile summit ecosystems and sacred sites. This promise remains unfulfilled. Astronomy has prospered, while natural and cultural resources have been irreplaceably lost, descecrated and destroyed.

Three Easy Things You Can Do Today!
1. Talk to legislators
Tell legislators to support Resolutions SR118, SCR227, HR226, & HCR311, which call for an audit to assess fair market rent on Mauna Kea.  Click here to send written testimony and learn more. Show up for the hearing
to give your testimony in person:

Leg Hearing on March 19
Friday at 10:30am
State Capitol RM 325

2. Mark Your Calendar for Upcoming BLNR Meeting
Next week, the BLNR will be considering approval of yet another set of UH plans for Mauna Kea, again paving the way for more development, the largest expansion of industrial land use on the summit in over a decade–the TMT.

BLNR Hearing in Hilo
Thursday, March 25 at 9:30AM
Imiloa Astronomy Center

3. Tell a Friend!
Forward this email to family and friends — and people you know!

Make your voice heard!

  • The value of UH-owned patents derived from technology developed on the summit was conservatively estimated to be worth $14 million back in 2001.
  • In 2008, a single night of viewing time at one observatory was valued at $80,000.
  • A 2005 NASA environmental impact statement (EIS) confirmed that the impacts of the telescope industry on the cultural and natural resources of Mauna Kea have been “substantial, adverse and significant.”
  • The Hawaii State Auditor has found that UH management of summit resources “focused primarily on the development of Mauna Kea and tied the benefits gained to its research program,” and that its focus on telescope development has been “at the expense of neglecting the site’s natural resources.”
  • For this use of public trust land, the people of Hawaii receive $1/year from some of the wealthiest countries, corporations and institutions on the planet.

For over a decade, advocates for Mauna Kea have sought:
1) No further expansion of the industrial footprint within Mauna Kea’s fragile conservation district,  and no further desecration of sacred sites and loss of natural resources on the summit:  including protection of ancestral burials and family ahu, Hawai’i islands principle water aquifer, unique habitat and endemic species, and preservation of public access.

2) Payment of Fair Rent. The law requires fair market rent be paid for use of public trust lands like Mauna Kea, to be put into Hawaii’s general fund for the betterment of all the people of Hawaii. The existing $1/year sweetheart deal is accelerating development, impoverishing conservation efforts, at the cost of critical public benefit programs like public education.

3) Community-based management of the public trust lands of Mauna Kea. Mauna Kea is a vast community resource. To date, the state has allowed the primary developers of the mountain to also drive management decisions. Instead, it is the community and the public who should lead decision-making for the future of these public trust lands.

This month is a busy one for all who aloha Mauna Kea. Today, there are three easy things that you can do (listed on the left) to make this vision for the future possible for Mauna Kea and Hawai’i nei. Please participate and help us together raise the standard of aloha today!

Mahalo nui,
Marti Townsend and the rest of
Us Guys at KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance

1149 Bethel St., #415
Honolulu, HI 96813

phone: 808-524-8220
toll-free: 877-585-2432