A group opposing the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea is appealing to the state’s highest court for the second time. The group Mauna Kea Anaina Hou filed a notice of appeal with the Hawaii Supreme Court Monday evening.
“It’s a violation of due process, again,” said Clarence Ku Ching, one of the plaintiffs in the case who’s with Mauna Kea Anaina Hou. Ching believes the new contested case hearing, which began in late October, has been riddled with problems, including bias and conflict of interest. The Mauna Kea Hui hope to make their case in an upcoming opening brief to the higher court.
This is the second contested case hearing for the giant telescope project. Protests against the TMT stalled construction last year. And in December, Hawaii's Supreme Court revoked the TMT's permit, sending the matter back to the Land Board to hold a new hearing.
The petitioners filed the notice of appeal while the current contested case hearing is still ongoing. “You either let a bad thing go, or you try and stop the bleeding,” said Ching, who believes it is necessary to act now. “So we’re trying to stop the bleeding.”
Last year lawmakers passed a bill, now known as Act 48, that allows high profile contested case appeals to go directly to the state Supreme Court.
TMT officials hope to resume construction no later than April 2018. The TMT International Observatory board recently announced that if a permit is not obtained for the Mauna Kea site in Hawaii, the telescope project will be moved to the Canary Islands in Spain.