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UH to conduct environmental study of plans for Mauna Kea

By Associated Press


HILO » The University of Hawaii is putting on hold a request for new Mauna Kea leases while it conducts an environmental impact study.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports that the request before the state Department of Land and Natural Resources would cover the Mauna Kea Science Reserve and Hale Pohaku Mid-Level Facilities through 2078.

University Relations Director Jerry Chang at the University of Hawaii at Hilo says the school hopes the study will prevent legal challenges to a new lease.

"If we don't do it, there will be some appeal," Chang said. "We're just trying to cover all our bases."

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs and other critics of the request say the study is needed to determine how a longer lease and more development could affect the mountain.

Chang says the study will cost about $1 million and take as long as three years to complete.

Chang said the results of the study could help or hinder plans for the mountain, including the $1.3 billion Thirty Meter Telescope. Construction of the telescope is scheduled to begin in April and be finished in 2022.

"If the (environmental impact statement) turns out negative, then we probably won't get the extension for the lease," Chang said. "Anybody who invests a billion dollars would like a longer lease than 20 years."

A legal challenge to the construction permit granted by the state is still pending. Several petitioners who filed the lawsuit against the telescope's construction argue it has social and environmental impacts.

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eleu808 wrote:
This eyesore is an insult to the people of Hawaii. To allow developers to use dynamite and bulldozers on conservation zoned land will set a bad precident. What is to stop future developers to dynamite and bulldoze other conservation lands in Hawaii for the crashing dollar? The annual one million dollar hush money promised to Hawaii's people is a cheap joke. These eyesores pay only one dollar a year in lease rent from the people of Hawaii while charging thousands of dollars per night in lease usage. Hawaii should get 51% of all the profits these telescopes produce. As soon as it is completed, these eysores are out of date and a bigger telescope will want to be built. The Hubble Space Telescope takes way better pictures than any land based telescope will ever produce without adverse impact on "Spaceship Earth" as futurist Buckminster Fuller called this planet.
on December 26,2013 | 12:33AM
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