Moratorium on Mauna Kea Telescope Construction Extended

By Chad Blair
Civil Beat
Hawaii's governor says the Thirty Meter Telescope team tells him the work will be postponed until April 20.
Moratorium on Mauna Kea Telescope Construction Extended

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

The “timeout” on construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on top of Hawaii Island’s Mauna Kea has been extended.

Gov. David Ige’s office announced Saturday that the TMT team informed him it will postpone construction until Monday, April 20.
Ige called for a moratorium Tuesday to give time for community dialogue after protests on the mountain prevented workers from reaching the summit.

Native Hawaiian and environmental groups oppose the building of the $1.4 billion, 18-story-tall TMT that would be the biggest telescope on Mauna Kea and nine times more powerful.

“I thank TMT for its willingness to be respectful and sensitive to all of Hawaii — its special people, its sense of place and its unique host culture,” Ige said in a statement.

In related news, the Office of Hawaiin Affairs Board of Trustees met Friday and discussed the burgeoning crisis. In a press release Saturday, the quasi-state agency, which initially approved of the TMT project, said it has been in discussions with “state decision makers.”

“In these talks, OHA leaders have emphasized the need for all parties to address the unresolved legal matters while the TMT construction moratorium remains in place,” the agency said in a statement.

Two days ago, dozens of protesters turned out at an OHA board meeting and asked trustees to lend them support. Hundreds of protesters also rallied at the University of Hawaii at Manoa on Friday.

“The Board plans to gain greater clarity on the pending legal cases relating to the TMT project,” the agency said Saturday.

Read Civil Beat’s latest reporting on the TMT protests, Telescope Protesters Prepare for Another Police Showdown.

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