(BIVN) – On Friday, the existing Mauna Kea observatories announced that they will return to work after a four-week suspension.

On July 16, a day after the standoff against the construction of the planned Thirty Meter Telescope began, the observatories made the decision to withdraw personnel from the mountain and shut down operations, citing safety concerns.

However, opponents of the TMT project – who now control the entry to the closed Mauna Kea Access Road – say the announcement by the observatories is misleading.

During a Friday afternoon news conference, held after the observatory announcement was made, Lanakila Mangauil – a leader in the Kū Kiaʻi Mauna movement – said the telescopes “have had access to this mountain for well over a week.”

From Mangauil’s statement made on Friday:

“We continue to stand here now on a closed road, that was closed by the State of Hawaiʻi. Right now, we are still allowing access. We are aware that the constant words by telescope companies that they were not granted access. We also are aware of the observatories just recently put a post out this morning stating that they will be returning. However, we have the evidence and we have been showing that they have had access to this mountain for well over a week.

We first offered an agreement as early as July 16th, which they denied. After about a week’s time they did approach us again to be able to further that – and after the the cancellation of the Emergency Proclamation, as well – astronomers were able to return to the Mauna. It is stated in the release that they made, the different – what they will be issuing to us – information, just so we can help to track and log who is going up this mountain. But we already have been doing that for well over a week. So the claims that they have not had access to this mountain is not true.

We’re hearing that they are making claims that they were worried about their safety. We is completely full of aloha here, and again they have been coming already for over a weeks time.

Part of that agreement is that we have one vehicle a day access to be able to have practitioners and kanaka maoli access this Mauna. However, that is still an impediment on the constitutionally protected rights of kanaka maoli for unimpeded access unto our own sacred Mauna. So at this time, we continue to be the ones – the sole ones – who are being held off of this Mauna, while those of special business – as well a special interest through permit – are being held higher than our constitutional right of access. So at this time, on the side road alongside the Mauna Kea Access Road, all telescope companies, technicians and astronomers and as well as OMKM staff, have access to this Mauna.”

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