Despite already having access to hard copies of TMT case transcripts at public libraries on Oahu and the Big Island, protesters recently filed a petition for free online access as well, a request that was denied by the Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources. (BLNR)
In a report submitted last Wednesday, the Land Board said state law doesn’t require them to be made available online, noting that the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) has already gone above and beyond by purchasing five copies (at $3,500) to distribute to public libraries for participants to use, which they said is “more than the agency is required to do.”
Sylvia Dahlby, a Hilo resident and TMT supporter, said of Hawaii Tribune-Herald’s coverage of the report, headlined State won’t put TMT contested case transcript online:
Here’s another example of media bias toward the protesters. The headline makes it sound like access is being denied to TMT opponents even though it’s pretty clear the standard procedure is being followed, with copies of contested case hearing transcripts made available for free at 5 public libraries (at taxpayer cost of $3,500) and for purchase at normal copying fees.
Copies of the 6,935-page transcript have indeed been placed at public libraries at the University of Hawaii at Hilo and in Hilo, Kailua-Kona, Waimea and Honolulu.
Additional copies of the transcript, which was prepared by court reporters through a contract, can be purchased from the court reporters at $1 per page.
Kealoha Pisciotta, the TMT opponent who filed the petition, is not only looking for digital access to the transcripts, but is seeking to acquire that access for free, noting that the lack of this access “handicapped parties while preparing their proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law,” due on May 30.
Yuklin Aluli, an attorney representing the environmental group KAHEA (one of the parties opposing TMT) also said that the opposing parties “have struggled along” without online access, adding that although the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) offered to provide a digital copy to project opponents, they couldn’t purchase the transcript in time because of procurement rules. (HTH)
It’s unclear exactly how the opposing parties are “handicapped” or “struggling” when there are multiple free, public copies available for use.
Another comment on the Hawaii Tribune-Herald piece reminded readers that the entire contested case hearing is archived on Na Leo TV and wondered why the HTH reporter didn’t also seek comments from UH/TMT, PUEO, Yes2TMT, or other prominent Hawaii voices on their perspectives.
More: Hawaii Tribune-Herald