Construction for Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea will resume on Wednesday, the TMT International Observatory Board announced.
TMT site preparation has been on hold since April 2, when 31 protesters were arrested trying to prevent work vehicles from reaching the construction site near the summit on Mauna Kea’s northern plateau.
On May 26, Gov. David Ige said he believes that the developers have satisfied their legal requirements and have the right to proceed with the $1.4 billion project.
"Our period of inactivity has made us a better organization in the long run," said Henry Yang, Chair of the TMT board. "We are now comfortable that we can be better stewards and better neighbors during our temporary and limited use of this precious land, which will allow us to explore the heavens and broaden the boundaries of science in the interest of humanity," Yang said.
TMT opponents say Mauna Kea is sacred ground to Native Hawaiians.
"SMKH reaffirms strongly, proudly and with all aloha our commitment to reinforce the blockade and continue to pursue legal routes while being forced to protect the Mauna with our bodies," said Sacred Mauna Kea Hui, a group protecting the mountain.
“We look forward to a positive relationship with all Hawaiians, while we understand that the majority of Hawaii’s people are supporting the TMT project. We deeply respect and are mindful of those who have concerns, and yet, we hope they will permit us to proceed with this important task while reserving their right to peaceful protest," Yang said.
Canada, California Institute of Technology, the University of California, and the science institutions of China, India, and Japan are partners in the effort to build one of the largest and most powerful optical telescopes in the world, expected to become operational in 2024.