Hearing Update 12/5
Day 12 of the contested case hearings in Hilo had an archaeologist take the stand on his recent survey work in the Maunakea area.
Richard Nees discussed his recent archaeological work with Pacific Consulting Services, Inc. in the Maunakea Science Reserve area.
Working as an archaeologist in Hawaii for the past 28 years, PCSI was contracted by the Office of Maunakea Management (OMKM) – the organization overseeing the natural and cultural resources in the Maunakea Science Reserve – to perform archaeological field surveys for Maunakea.
While the TMT construction site is located within the Mauna Kea Summit Region Historic District as identified by the State of Hawaii, TMT will not be visible from culturally sensitive locations and there are no known burial sites or other historic features on the planned telescope location.
As part of his work, Nees is the field director overseeing annual monitoring inspections of historic properties identified within the Maunakea Science Reserve.
In his testimony, Nees said measures taken by TMT “will prevent substantial adverse impact to existing and identified historic and cultural resources within the surrounding area, community or region.”
Some of those mitigation measures include:
Cultural monitoring program. The TMT project will hire a cultural resource specialist to work in conjunction with construction staff when and where on-site archaeological monitoring is required.
Cultural and natural resources training program. All TMT employees, contractors and subcontractors associated with the TMT construction project take part in an annual program to gain an understanding and respect for Hawaiian cultural and religious practices. Training is conducted by OMKM.
Potential noise: TMT will meet with OMKM to identify cultural events that would be sensitive to construction noise in the vicinity of the TMT observatory site. During construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope, the project will endeavor to reduce construction noise and activities in the vicinity of cultural practices.
Construction Best Management Practices: Proactive construction measures will take place to avoid potential disturbance of land beyond the construction work zone.
TMT project design. To reduce its visual impact, the Thirty Meter Telescope is being designed to reduce its size and help it blend in with the mountain’s natural surroundings. This includes a reflective, aluminum-like finish added to the telescope’s dome. The reflective material will allow the facility to mirror the existing surroundings at that particular time of the year, whether it’s earth, sky or winter tones.
The exterior of the telescope’s support building will have a lava color finish and the planned access way to the telescope will be limited to a single-lane road from a previous road design of two lanes.
Cross-examination of Nees concluded today, with Fritz Klasner of OMKM scheduled to take the witness stand tomorrow.