Hawaii News Protesters’ damage to Mauna Kea road being gauged By Gordon Y.K. Pang June 30, 2015 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! COURTESY LAKEA TRASKProtesters opposing the Thirty Meter Telescope went to the summit of Mauna Kea on Friday to dismantle a stone structure that had been built there. Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. Gov. David Ige gave few details Monday about how he intends to clear access for those who work on or visit the summit of Mauna Kea, even as those who oppose construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope said they will continue to do what they can to stop the project. The University of Hawaii Office of Mauna Kea Management, meanwhile, said the summit road that starts at the Hale Pohaku midlevel area will remain closed until further notice as officials assess damage to the road and surrounding area. The clearing of boulders and rock walls is expected to run through next week, UH officials estimated. "We are working with the university and all the agencies involved to create a plan that would assure that we can keep access for all of the workers, visitors and the people who work at the other telescopes," Ige said when asked about the situation during a news conference to address potential vetoes of legislation. "So we look to enforce existing rules and regulations and laws and then look at the authority that we have to secure the mountaintop and assure access. And so that’s what we are focused on." The state is working with the University of Hawaii, the Hawaii Police Department and other law enforcement agencies on a plan, but there have been no discussions about using Hawaii National Guard troops to enforce the law, Ige said. On Wednesday, for the second time, construction trucks and other TMT-related vehicles were turned back at the midlevel point by several hundred protesters. Twelve people were arrested before Ige ordered the road closed after concluding that the boulders and stones placed by the protesters proved too great a hazard for the workers and equipment to proceed up the mountain. The road to the summit has been closed to the public since then, as has the visitor center at the 9,200-foot level. Ige’s office is working with UH officials to assess the hazardous conditions caused by the obstructions. "We are going to be looking at the actions that we need to take to assure that the public and the workers can access … the existing facilities as well as those workers who would be involved with the project," he said. Asked by reporters whether enforcing laws would include prohibiting people from continuing to camp overnight along the side of the road, Ige said, "We intend to enforce the laws as they exist today. Yes, if (protesters and campers) are there illegally, we will be enforcing the law." He added, "The state has a duty and obligation to assure safe access to any state facility. And we are committed to ensuring safe access to Mauna Kea. And we are being smart about what that means and trying to be comprehensive in planning." Opponents want the state to delay construction at least until the Hawaii Supreme Court can hear legal challenges, scheduled for late August, to the $1.4 billion project. About 50 protesters spent time on Mauna Kea on Monday, including about 20 who were planning to spend the night, said Kamahana Kealoha, head facilitator of the Sacred Mauna Kea Hui. Kealoha said his group and other protesters have no plans to leave Mauna Kea. "We’re going to block access as long as they plan to build that TMT and not decommission the other telescopes," he said. "The Sacred Mauna Kea Hui feels that the governor is squandering taxpayers’ money by keeping protectors from protecting the mountain when really it’s an issue that should be tabled until the Supreme Court has a chance to weigh in on this." The lawsuit argues that the state Board of Land and Natural Resources should not have allowed a conservation district use permit to be issued for the TMT. Kealoha said that in recent days he and other cultural practitioners have been denied vehicular access to sacred areas at the summit while workers on existing telescopes have been allowed to go to the summit. "It’s a travesty," he said. "Hawaii state law is supposed to protect our cultural practices. There’s a big discrepancy." Kahookahi Kanuha, who was among the 12 people arrested last week, said the "protectors" are not on the mountain to block access for employees of other telescopes or tourists wishing to visit. "We’re not there to block access; we’re there to block desecration," Kanuha said. "Our intent at this point is only to stop TMT." Kanuha said protesters will hold a news conference Wednesday to respond to Ige’s recent comments. Previous Story Transgender soldier back on the front lines Next Story Christie says he's running in 2016 to 'change the world'