It was announced this week that the Supreme Court of Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean issued a permit to construct the Thirty-Metre Telescope (TMT) at the Mauna Kea site on the island.
This decision coincides with the approval this week of the declaration of the environmental impact for the installation of the telescope in La Palma, which also hoped to host this giant telescope.
This news is a setback for La Palma, but it is reported that all the doors are not yet closed. Citizen opposition in the Pacific Islands is very high, and is one of the main obstacles to the development of the project.
The international consortium that governs the TMT has requested that the works licence granted by the City Council of Puntagorda in La Palma, the last bureaucratic procedure, be still carried out.
Henry Yang, Chairman of the Board of Governors of TMT International Observatory, issued the following statement in response to the news.
“On behalf of the TMT International Observatory, we are grateful for the decision of the Hawaii State Supreme Court that will allow TMT to be built on Mauna Kea. We thank all the members of the community who contributed their reflections throughout this process. We remain committed to being good stewards on the mountain and inclusive of the Hawaiian community. We honour the culture of the islands and their people, and will do our part to contribute to their future through our continued support of education and the young people of the Hawaiian Islands. We are excited to move forward in Hawaii and will continue to respect and follow state and county regulations as we determine our next steps. We are deeply grateful to our many friends and supporters for their tremendous support of the years.”
Work on the telescope at Mauna Kea stopped in 2015 when the Hawaii Supreme Court invalidated the Conservation District Use Permit for procedural reasons. That permit had been issued by the Land and Natural Resources Board (BLNR) to the University of Hawaii Hilo to build TMT at Mauna Kea, which has spiritual and cultural significance to the local community.
The Supreme Court returned the case to the Hawaii Circuit Court and ordered a new contested case hearing to be held. This contested case began in October 2016.
The residents of La Palma now have to wait to hear the response from the protesters in Hawaii to learn where this important large telescope will be built.
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