Lawsuit seeks to stop rail project until burial survey completed

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation filed a lawsuit Monday against the city and the state on behalf of a native Hawaiian cultural practitioner to protect Hawaiian burial sites before the city builds its $5.5 billion rail project.

The Circuit Court lawsuit says the city did not complete an inventory survey of archaeological sites, including ancient Hawaiian burials, along the rail's designated route before starting the project as required by law.

The plaintiff is Paulette Kaleikini, was also the plaintiff in a lawsuit last year in which the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that native Hawaiians have the right to challenge construction plans that disturb Hawaiian burial sites.

The lawsuit asks that an archaeological inventory survey be completed before work on the project begins. It also asks that the Environmental Impact Statement and all permits for the project be declared void.

The state is a defendant in the lawsuit because the Department of Land and Natural Resources is responsible for protecting state cultural and historic resources.

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