TMT: Hawaii Telescope Still In Limbo

Jan 25, 2016

Credit Thirty Meter Telescope Corp.

The future of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Hawai‘i Island’s Mauna Kea remains uncertain. Construction has been halted on the project since protests began last April. And in December, Hawaii's Supreme Court ruled the permit invalid, sending the matter back for a new contested case hearing.

Panelists at a Chamber of Commerce Hawaii forum discuss the future of astronomy on Mauna Kea. They included TMT Executive Director Ed Stone, OHA Trustee Peter Apo, SVP of Bank of Hawaii Roberta Chu, and Executive Director of CFHT Doug Simons.
Credit Molly Solomon

Leaders from the Thirty Meter Telescope say it’s now up to the state to determine when and how the process moves forward for the $1.4 billion project. Ed Stone is the Executive Director of the TMT International Observatory, which includes international partners from Japan, China, India, and Canada. 

“Our partners are anxious to understand what has to be done and what the way forward is. We are waiting for those instructions from the Department of Land and Natural Resources," said Stone, who spoke on behalf of the TMT project at a Chamber of Commerce Hawai‘i forum on the future of astronomy on Mauna Kea. "We’re hopeful that we will find there is a way forward. But we’re waiting to see if that can be the case.”

But according to the state's Attorney General Doug Chin, it's not the Department of Land and Natural Resources that's holding up the process. "On December 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," said Chin in a statement. " As of today, the circuit court has not remanded the case.  BLNR cannot take action or provide instructions to anyone until this happens."