Attorney objects to judge appointment in telescope case

Published: Apr. 22, 2016 at 8:28 AM HST
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HILO, Hawaii (AP) - A Honolulu attorney is asking the state to find another hearings officer to oversee the next contested case for the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope over concerns of a conflict of interest.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports that Attorney Richard Naiwieha Wurdeman represents a group that sued to stop construction of the $1.4 billion observatory on Mauna Kea. He filed a complaint with the state Board of Land and Natural Resources Friday over its selection of retired Hilo Circuit Judge Riki May Amano as hearings officer.

Wurdeman claims the selection represents a conflict of interest because Amano and her husband are members of the Imiloa Astronomy Center. The facility is part of the University of Hawaii, which lists TMT as a corporate sponsor on its website.

The state board didn't respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

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