The Hawaii Supreme Court has made a ruling in the complaints from a Native Hawaiian woman who said that the entire archaeological inventory survey needs to be completed before the city can begin construction of its rail project.
The high court ruled that the Circuit Court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of the city and state on some of Paulette Kaleikini's claims, which includes that a completed AIS needs to be present for the entire project.
Kaleikini's lawsuit was thrown out of Circuit Court in March.
In its unanimous decision issued in Kaleikini v. Yoshioka, the court recognized that Hawaii Revised Statutes Chapter 6E and its implementing rules require that an AIS be completed for the entire project area before approval of or commencement of construction.
The Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation released this statement:
"The Hawai'i Supreme Court ruled today that both the City and County of Honolulu as well as the State Historic Preservation Division violated Hawai'i's state burial law in approving the Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Corridor Project before an archaeological inventory survey for the entire transit route had been completed."
"We’re elated and our client is very grateful for all the support that she has received in her efforts to protect iwi kupuna," said Ashley Obrey, attorney with the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation which filed the appeal on behalf of Kaleikini.
The Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation said it sent an email to the city asking that construction be stopped on the rail project. It expects an answer by 8 a.m. Monday. If not, the group will file a motion with Circuit Court to stop construction and vacate the special management area permit that was issued by the city council in January 2011.
However, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that the final environmental impact statement was sufficient and properly accepted by the governor and the city and state gave full consideration to cultural and historic values, as required by law.
The high court remanded some of Kaleikini's claims for further proceedings.