Trial begins in lawsuit over state's protection of Pohakuloa training area
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Trial began Tuesday morning over the claims of Native Hawaiians that the state is neglecting its duty to watch over the Army's lease of the huge Pohakuloa training area on the Big Island.
In opening arguments before Circuit Court Judge Gary Chang, attorneys for the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation, representing two residents, said the state lease to the Army requires more regular cleanup and strict monitoring of the military use of the property, which is roughly the size of Kahoolawe.
Attorneys for the state say the real goal of the lawsuit is to impede the military's ability to train and ultimately lead to an end of training. They argued that the military has sole responsibility for cleanup and ordnance removal.
The attorney general says there are no allegations of breaches of the lease or serious damage to cultural sites and that various state agencies -- including the Office of Hawaiian Affairs -- participate in monitoring the training.
The trial is being held without a jury and is expected to take less than a week.
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