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Panel encourages telescope supporters to be more vocal

  • COURTESY IMAGE

    This rendering shows what the Thirty Meter Telescope will look like.

The executive director of the embattled Thirty Meter Telescope said today he wants to move forward with the project but is waiting to hear from state agencies about how to proceed after the Hawaii Supreme Court invalidated a key construction permit.

The $1.4 billion project has been in limbo since April, when throngs of protesters opposed to building the telescope atop Mauna Kea— held sacred by many Native Hawaiians — blocked construction crews. Protesters showed up in force again in June during an attempt to resume construction. Last month, the state Supreme Court ruled that the state Board of Land and Natural Resources should not have issued the permit before a hearings officer reviewed a petition by a group challenging the project’s approval. The court sent the matter back for a new contested case hearing.

Since then, telescope officials have been largely silent on what they planned to do next. But Ed Stone, the project’s executive director, said telescope officials don’t have enough information to decide.

“We’re waiting now for the instructions from the courts through the Department of Land and Natural Resources … which they can convey to us what this new process needs to be, what the schedule is and then we can take it into account in deciding what we do next,” he said. “So we can’t really do anything until we have an idea what it is the state’s requiring to see if that’s going to be consistent with what we can do.”

State officials are not holding up the process, state Attorney General Doug Chin said in a statement. “On Dec. 29, the Supreme Court remanded the case to the circuit court to further remand to the Board of Land and Natural Resources so that a contested case hearing can be conducted,” he said. “As of today, the circuit court has not remanded the case. BLNR cannot take action or provide instructions to anyone until this happens.”

Stone was on a Chamber of Commerce Hawaii panel Friday to discuss the future of Mauna Kea. Panelists urged telescope supporters to be more vocal.

There’s a “tremendous intimidation factor,” when protesters invoke the word “sacred,” said panelist Peter Apo, who is an Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee.

Supporters tend to be silent, while opponents are much more vocal.

“You gotta rise up and get out there and engage,” Apo told attendees gathered at downtown Honolulu’s Plaza Club.

Attendee Kirstin Kahaloa, executive director of the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce, agreed, noting that there’s a “fear factor” among those who support the project. She described “personal attacks,” when she expressed her support publicly.

The fervent protests have been surprising, Stone said after the panel discussion.

“Those voices were not there and then they appeared in October of 2014 and surprised not only us but I think essentially all our supporters,” he said, reflecting back to the project’s groundbreaking ceremony that was disrupted by protesters.

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    • Should the TMT ever get the permits, hopefully the protestors will not obstruct it. If they do, then the law does not apply to them and yes, they will present themselves as cavemen.

    • I agree with the article. I have heard many Hawaiians at the UH say that they totally disagree with the largely Caucasian protesters and that they are being intimidated by other Hawaiians. People in Hawaii don’t realize what the atmosphere is on this campus. I agree with Peter Apo that the mountain is in no way sacred and never was. Especially not for the enormous Hawaiian Christian community. But this is Hawaii and neither the media nor anyone else ever wants to find out the reality of what is going on out there.

      • stick to the facts allie he said he does not believe the whole mountain is scared. he stated many areas of the mountain are scared but has found no proof the whole mountain is. you might want to go back and read the civil beat article instead of making false statements under some one else name

        • wrong..read the article and other articles indicating the mountain is not nor ever was “sacred.” Hawaiians are really not as afraid and as ignorant as you pretend.

        • Stick to the real facts, the “sacred” issue is not the legal issue. How can it be. It’s due process and who controls land use. Peter is shilling for Doug Ing, the Bishop trustee, ex, who was hired by the tele intel funders to fix things, as usual, so there would be not trouble. The fix is in no more. That’s the real issue, Apo, and you know it. However, what other office are you now campaigning for?

      • here you go allie his words This research has led me to some conclusions. First, there are indeed places on Mauna Kea that are sacred. These are places where Hawaiians have continuously participated in traditional and customary practices; so there are unquestionably specific geo-cultural sites on Mauna Kea that are protected, and the practices that are associated with these sites meet all the defining criteria of being traditional and customaryds . this does not inclues site that burial are on. so miss liar stick to the facts

  • Simple approval method: DLNR takes a vote to reissue the permit. Second, announce they have voted to the affirmative. Then hold the contested case crying session again. Last issue permit, AND BUILD THE SOB!

        • really since the state can not do anything until the court let them what and how much it want done . seem to me simple thinkers think they can make there own rules. that what caused them to halt the project. simple thinkers like you who think they above the law is what causes problems

        • I could not care less whether it is built or not as I don’t live here. But I do feel sorry for Hawaiians who do want good jobs in science and math. I also deplore any Hawaiians who are intimidated by the usual bullies that enforce silence in their community. As palani has noted, the media simply reports and never questions the many lies , exaggerations and distortions in the Hawaiian “Studies” fiasco. It goes on all the time. Ask UH faculty if they feel intimidated? You might be surprised at what is going on.

        • Allie the only person you should feel sorry for is your self that sad little liar you are, For the records hawaiian student are in all of the stem fields. Astronomy is not the only science field here is in hawaii. truth is very little hawaiian are interested in that field in. you only have to go into the stem program on Uh or even KCC and see it for your self. there are in all the other stem fields.

    • Agree. Ige is very weak and dares not move. He is as useless a governor as this state has ever had. But make no mistake: Hawaii deserves all the suffering it bears. The state loves to shoot itself in the foot and suffer. It is the way of the Nei.

  • BUILD IT! Telescopes are “sacred” to science, so placing the “sacred” observatory atop the barren, lifeless “sacred” mountaintop would be the greatest achievement in sacredom… sacredocrity… sacredness… whatever.. something to do with “sacred.”

    • Telescopes are “sacred” to science and the mountain is scared to hawaiians and also very important environmentalist let the battle begin. they held up H3 for about 10 years. so time will tell how much more money TMT is willing to loose they already spent $170 million only to be stopped and put on hold

      • scared is the word..not sacred. But look for more Hawaiians to come out of hiding and speak out against bullies who love intimidating other Hawaiians and bossing them around. There is a very old history of that kind of behavior out here.

        • let it begin for when any group is challenged the stakes get higher you will see huge numbers come out in support of the protectors. last time they were 700 plus on the mountain. they have not only local support but also international and national support and donations. your own tribe supports the protectors . By the way you keep throwing christians into the mix. they do not support tmt far from it. they know where they came from. then add those who want to protect the environment many are UH professors . so let it begin. by the way there’s a support tmt page it has about 800 members you might want to sign up to help out. because the pages to protect mauna kea have thousands of folks that have sign up

  • Time for the builders of the TMT to move on to Chile where they will not have any problems in building the TMT.
    Why throw more money after bad and the long delay that the whole process will take to resolve, and maybe still not in their favor.

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