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Thirty Meter Telescope on hold while study conducted

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 12:51 p.m. HST, Dec 24, 2013

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

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports 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 finish 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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fstop wrote:
Chang says the study will cost about $1 million and take as long as three years to complete.

Construction of the telescope is scheduled to begin in April and finish in 2022.

So they can start construction without the study being completed? Sounds like another Superferry in the making. Why did they wait so long to tart the study?

on December 24,2013 | 12:40PM
bumba wrote:
That study will be a colossal waste of money. How in the world would the telescope impact the environment??? Wasting money on tree huggers' drama.
on December 24,2013 | 06:27PM
eleu808 wrote:
This proposed eyesore is an insult to the people of Hawaii. To allow the use of dynamite and bulldozers to devopers on the destruction of conservation zoned land will set a bad precedent. What will keep other developers to dynamite and bulldozing other Hawaii conservation zoned lands for the sake of the crashing dollar? The one million dollar a year hush money donation by these developers to Hawaii is a cheap joke. With only one dollar a year lease rent these telescopes pay, Hawaii should be getting 51% of the profits these eyesores pocket. These telescopes charge thousands per night for usage lease. As soon as this proposed eysore is built it will already be out of date technology and some develpoer will want to build an even bigger eyesore. The Hubble Space Telescope takes way better pictures than any landbased telescope will ever take with no adverse impact on this "spaceship earth" as futurist Buckminster Fuller called this planet.
on December 25,2013 | 07:23AM
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