- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 11, 2017

HONOLULU (AP) - The state plans to challenge a judge’s order requiring the Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources to hold another case hearing related to a proposed giant telescope project on Mauna Kea.

Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura confirmed his December oral decision in a written order this week. The ruling regarding the Thirty Meter Telescope’s sublease with the University of Hawaii at Hilo means the matter will be sent back to the board for a contested case hearing.

Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin said the state will appeal the decision.

Hilo resident Kalani Flores had asked for a hearing in 2014 before the board gave its consent to the sublease, but his request was denied. UH’s 1967 lease of more than 11,000 acres at the summit of Mauna Kea requires the board’s consent for it to sublease to others.

In his ruling, Nakamura said the board violated Flores’ constitutional rights by allowing the university to continue to issue the sublease to the telescope project.

The decision could result in a much longer delay for the $1.4 billion project, which has already been halted because of a due process error that resulted in the ongoing contested case hearings in Hilo.

“Creating a new requirement to hold a contested case hearing before granting consent to each one may cause significant delays in many different areas,” said Joshua Wisch, special assistant to the attorney general.

TMT spokesman Scott Ishikawa said it is unclear how Nakamua’s decision will affect the project or its timeline.

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