1/25 – Peter Mills takes the stand
The contested case hearings reached the 30-day mark with witnesses representing TMT opponents continuing to take the stand.
Peter Mills, an anthropology professor at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, testified against the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope. As a qualified archaeologist, Mills said he felt the contractors hired by TMT did a good job in physically conducting archaeological inventory surveys to search for potential cultural findings at the planned TMT site.
Mills acknowledged the voluminous work conducted between 2005 and 2010 by Pacific Consulting Services, Inc. (PCSI) on Archaeological Inventory Surveys (AIS) and a Cultural Resources Management Plan (CRMP) prepared as part of the project’s Environmental Impact Statement, as well as the additional AIS work conducted at the TMT site by Cultural Surveys Hawaiʻi, Inc. in 2013 and 2015.
The 2013 archaeological inventory survey concluded that no surface archaeological features were observed; nor were there any cultural deposits, artifacts, or human skeletal remains. It was also reported that there are no historic properties or burials on the TMT site. The report was reviewed and accepted by the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD) in December 2013.
Mills disagreed on the archaeological survey’s specific focus on only the TMT site. He also brought up concerns of the Maunakea view planes affected by TMT and how it could affect native cultural practices.
Attorneys representing the University of Hawaii pointed out that many of his concerns were addressed in the TMT project’s environmental impact statement approved by the Governor in 2010.
During cross examination by UH attorney Pete Manaut, Mills acknowledged he did not provide comments or concerns during the AIS process, although there was a required time period to allow for public comment. Mills did provide comments during the project’s EIS process that were formally addressed in that process that concluded in 2010.
Manaut also quizzed Mills about his understanding of the exact location of TMT on Maunakea and any affected view planes caused by the TMT construction. The Thirty Meter Telescope would be built away from the Maunakea summit and would only be visible from only 15 percent of Hawaii Island from the Waimea region.
Cross examination of Mills was completed by the end of today’s hearing. Tomorrow, the contested case parties are required to attend tomorrow’s hearing to determine the testimony schedule for February.