Hawaii officials vote to restrict access to Mauna Kea

Hawaii officials vote to restrict access to Mauna Kea

Hawaii officials on Friday voted to impose an emergency rule to restrict access to Mauna Kea after protesters blocked construction of a giant telescope on the holy mount.

The Board of Land & Natural Resources yesterday voted 5-2 on the 120-day rule, which prevents people from being within a mile of the holy mountain's access road during certain hours in the night, unless a person is in a moving vehicle.

The rule also prohibits use of camping gear within a mile of the Mauna Kea.

But many protesters argued that the rule poses a problem. Kaipo Moris said, "So if you're trekking miles, and you're caught in inclement weather, you may not have the time to go down the mountain. It doesn't just affect protectors; it affects astronomers and photographers, too. It's such a broad spectrum of rule. Even the hunters are affected!"

During the eight-hour meeting yesterday, more than one hundred people testified. The board started executive session at nearly 9 p.m. and began deliberations after 10 p.m.

Protest leaders insisted that they would continue to keep constant vigil on the mountain.

The government has approved the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the mountain, but Native Hawaiians have been opposing the giant telescope as they consider the mountain sacred.

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