State AG responds to lawsuit

The office of the state attorney general responded late Thursday to a lawsuit by three Native Hawaiians challenging the state’s jurisdiction over the Maunakea Access Road.

A statement by Krishna Jayaram, special assistant to the attorney general, argued that the issues raised by the lawsuit have already been conclusively settled.

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“There is no competent claim – legal or otherwise – that Mauna Kea Access Road is under the control and jurisdiction of Department of Hawaiian Home Lands,” the statement read. “The Department of Transportation has control and jurisdiction over all state highways, including Mauna Kea Access Road, which is designated to DOT’s State Highway System as Route 210.

“Moreover, all claims related to the utilization of DHHL property for public roads and highways were resolved by Act 14 (1995). To the extent there remain any outstanding issues regarding compensation pursuant to Act 14, DHHL and the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) are in discussion.”

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Meanwhile, a lawyer for the plaintiffs clarified a statement made by one plaintiff on Thursday.

While Halealoha Ayau said Thursday that the DOT requires a title to manage the Maunakea Access Road, his attorney has added that the title alone does not resolve the issue, but the fact that the DOT does not have that title is sufficient to counter the state’s claim that the jurisdiction issue has been resolved.

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