Friday, October 22, 2021
Press release from KAHEA: State board to rule on whether University of Hawaii missed deadline to break ground for Thirty-Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea
HONOLULU, Hawai‘i - On October 20, 2021, the Board of Land and Natural
Resources entered orders indicating it will rule on a petition for
declaratory orders from parties from the 2016-17 Thirty-Meter Telescope
permit contested case that challenges the University of Hawai‘i Hilo’s
assertion that TMT construction has already been initiated. Petitioners
Mauna Kea Anaina Hou, Kealoha Pisciotta, Kū Ching, Deborah J. Ward, Paul
Neves, and KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance point out that TMT
construction has not begun and the Board should re-examine their 2017
permit approval in light of changed conditions surrounding the TMT project.
The group raised changed conditions including a $1 billion shortfall for
TMT funding, the Canadian Astronomical Association’s recent statement that
it cannot support the TMT without Native Hawaiians’ consent, and DLNR’s own
critical evaluation of University outreach and consultation with Hawaiians.
Currently, the University’s permit to build the TMT requires construction
to begin by September 26, 2021. If the Board grants the group’s petition,
the University would have to request another permit extension at a public
hearing before the Board or its permit would be void within a year. “The
University shouldn’t be able to twist facts in order to avoid public
scrutiny,” said Kealoha Pisciotta, “The TMT is not being constructed.”
The Board’s order set forth a 25 day schedule for briefing, after which it
will issue its ruling without a hearing.
Read the Board’s Order here
Read the Petition, filed May 24, 2021 here
Bianca Isaki, Ph.D., Esq.
KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance