Judge Recommends Permit to Proceed for TMT
The controversial Thirty Meter Telescope project atop Mauna Kea on Hawaiʻi Island should be granted a permit to proceed with construction under a recommendation handed down yesterday.
Retired Circuit Court Judge Riki May Amano, who is serving as a hearings officer in the contested case made the recommendation after weighing testimony and facts presented.
TMT Executive Director Ed Stone said he looks forward to the next steps and welcomes the recommendation that a state permit be issued.
“We appreciate that Judge Riki Amano worked carefully and tirelessly to ensure all voices were heard during the contested case hearing. We are grateful to all our supporters and friends who have been with us during the hearing process and over the past ten years and we remain respectful of the process to ensure the proper stewardship of Maunakea,” said Stone.
Governor David Ige said regardless of the BLNR’s ultimate decision, he supports the co-existence of astronomy and culture on Mauna Kea along with better management of the mountain.
“I want to thank hearing officer and former Judge Riki May Amano for her diligent work in making a recommendation to the Board of Land and Natural Resources regarding the Thirty Meter Telescope project at Mauna Kea,” said Gov. Ige, noting that he is in the process of reviewing the conditions included in the decision.
Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources Senior Communications Manager, Dan Dennison said, “Now that Judge Amano has issued the Order, the Board will set a deadline for the parties to file exceptions to her recommendations and another deadline for the parties to file responsive briefs to the exceptions. The Board will also set a date for oral argument before the Board. After oral argument, the Board will issue its final written decision and order.”
Opponents meantime, expressed disappointment at the decision and have maintained that further development atop the summit would desecrate an area considered sacred.
Convoy Planned at Haleakalā on Maui to Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope
Here on Maui, Crater Road (Rt. 378) and Haleakalā National Park’s summit road will close to visitor traffic for 16 hours next week while a slow moving convoy transports extremely wide loads to the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope near the volcano’s summit.
The closure is scheduled to begin at 10 p.m. on Tuesday and conclude by 2 p.m. on Wednesday August 2, 2017.
The convoy’s travel through the park is being allowed via Special Use Permit.
Similar convoys were met with protests in 2015 due to issues surrounding development atop the summit areas of some of Hawaiʻi’s highest mountains. Demonstrators who attempted to block a convoy transporting material and equipment to the summit for the project in July of 2015 were carried away, and additional arrests were made a month later when demonstrators took another stand against the project.
In October of 2016, the Hawaiʻi Supreme Court issued an opinion that supported continued construction, and agreed that the management plan for the Haleakalā summit provided a sufficient assessment of potential environmental impacts from the Telescope.