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Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court

No. SCAP-14-0000873, Thursday, August 27, 2015 , 8:45 a.m.

MAUNA KEA ANAINA HOU, CLARENCE KUKAUAKAHI CHING, FLORES-CASE `OHANA, DEBORAH J. WARD, PAUL K. NEVES, and KAHEA: THE HAWAIIAN ENVIRONMENTAL ALLIANCE, a domestic non profit corporation, Petitioners/Appellants Appellants, vs. BOARD OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES, STATE OF HAWAI`I, DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES, STATE OF HAWAI`I, SUZANNE CASE, in her official capacity as Chair of the Board of Land and Natural Resources and Director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, and UNIVERSITY OF HAWAI`I AT HILO, Respondents/Appellees Appellees.

The above-captioned case has been set for argument on the merits at:

Supreme Court Courtroom
Ali`iolani Hale, 2nd Floor
417 South King Street
Honolulu, HI 96813

Attorney for Petitioner:

Richard Naiwieha Wurdeman

Attorneys for Respondent UH at Hilo: 

Ian L. Sandison, Jay S. Handlin, Tim Lui-Kwan, and Arsima A. Muller

Attorneys for Respondent BLNR, et al.: 

William J. Wynhoff and Julie H. China, Deputy Attorneys General

NOTE: Order granting Application for Transfer, filed 06/05/15.


[ Listen to Part 1 of audio recording in mp3 format ]

[ Listen to Part 2 of audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief Description:

This case involves Appellee University of Hawai`i at Hilo’s (UHH) conservation district use application (CDUA) for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) at the Mauna Kea Science Reserve, on the island of Hawai`i. Appellee Board of Land & Natural Resources (BLNR) granted a conservation district use permit (CDUP), subject to conditions. Appellants Mauna Kea Anaina Hou, Clarence Kukauakahi Ching, Flores-Case `Ohana, Deborah J. Ward, Paul K. Neves, and KAHEA: the Hawaiian Environmental Alliance, a domestic non-profit corporation, appealed to the circuit court. The circuit court affirmed BLNR’s decision.

Appellants appealed the circuit court’s decision to the Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA), arguing as follows:

(1) the trial court was wrong and reversibly erred when it found that the BLNR’s approval of CDUP HA-3568 prior to the contested case hearing did not warrant reversal;

(2) the circuit court was wrong and reversibly erred by affirming the BLNR’s approval of UHH’s CDUA and the reliable, probative and substantial evidence failed to support the findings and conclusions that the eight criteria of HAR [Hawai`i Administrative Rules] ‘ 13-5-30(c) were met and such conclusions were wrong;

(3) the circuit court was wrong and reversibly erred when it found that the CDUP was subject to a sufficient management plan; and

(4) the circuit court was wrong and the Board of Land and Natural Resources failed to meet its legal and constitutional obligations in properly identifying and determining the scope of the valued, cultural, historical and natural resources in the petition area; in determining the impact on these resources by the proposed land use in the conservation district; and in failing to take feasible actions to protect such resources by improperly delegating its duties and obligations.

Before the ICA issued an opinion, Appellants applied for transfer of this case to this court, and this court accepted.