State Supreme Court Issues Opinions on Haleakalā Telescope

October 6, 2016, 3:46 PM HST · Updated October 6, 3:47 PM
Wendy Osher · 0 Comments
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Kākoʻo Haleakalā demonstration, 8/19/15. File photo credit: Nicholas Garrett.

The Hawaiʻi Supreme Court today issued two opinions related to the Haleakalā Telescope on Maui, that supports continued construction.

According to the State Attorney General’s office, the first opinion unanimously agreed that the management plan for the Haleakalā summit provided a sufficient assessment of potential environmental impacts from the Telescope.

“By a 3-2 majority, the second opinion affirmed the state land board’s decision in 2012 to grant a permit to build the Telescope,” according to the Attorney General’s office.

Attorney General Doug Chin issued the following statement in response:

“We respect the Court’s decisions and will consider them carefully to determine what impact, if any, they have on future matters before the state land board, including the Thirty Meter Telescope. The justices continue to stress the importance of conducting a fair process for all projects on public lands.”

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Last year, 20 individuals were arrested on July 30, 2015, for failure to disperse during a demonstration in which individuals attempted to block a planned convoy of vehicles scheduled to deliver equipment to the Daniel K Inouye Telescope under construction atop Haleakalā.

Three weeks later, on Aug. 19, 2015, an additional eight people were arrested on Maui during a demonstration against the ongoing construction of the telescope.

Various groups participating in the demonstration expressed opposition to ongoing construction and “desecration” of what they consider to be sacred land atop some of the state’s highest mountains.  At the time, those opposed to the project said the issue remained under deliberation at the state Supreme Court, and should not proceed without the blessing of the community.

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Telescope advocates say the DKIST, formerly known as the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope, will be the world’s largest ground-based solar telescope and will offer scientists unprecedented high-resolution images of the sun using the latest adaptive optics technology and distortion-free imaging.

On the Big Island of Hawaiʻi similar demonstrations were held amid concerns over construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope or TMT atop Mauna Kea.

Wendy Osher
Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served nearly 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.

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