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Land board to hear telescope arguments

    This webcamera image taken this morning shows snow on Mauna Kea. The camera is looking towards Mauna Loa from the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory's Submillimeter Array.

HILO » The state Board of Land and Natural Resources is meeting in Hilo to hear arguments on whether it should allow the world’s largest optical telescope to be built at Mauna Kea’s summit.

Board members are gathering at county council chambers today. They are listening to arguments in response to a hearing officer’s report recommending that the board grant a permit for the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope.

Some Native Hawaiians are concerned a telescope would defile the mountain’s sacred summit. Environmentalists are worried it would harm the rare wekiu bug.

The University of California, California Institute of Technology and the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy started the project. China, India and Japan have signed on to be partners.

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