Thirty Meter Telescope construction permit revoked by Hawaii Supreme Court is hailed as a victory for the native Hawaiians and protesters opposing its construction.
The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project was first announced in 2009. The Thirty Meter Telescope is deemed the most performant telescope to be built. Taking a prime spot in the Mauna Kea Observatory, the TMT would have been build on the Mauna Kea peak.
However, the 1.4 billion dollars scientific project was opposed ever since its announcement by native Hawaiians. Mauna Kea is a revered cultural sight, bearing great spiritual significance for native Hawaiians.
Albeit the project guaranteed good stewardship of Mauna Kea and open access to the cultural sights, protests and conflict have constantly made the news. Now, as the Hawaii Supreme Court invalidated the construction permit for the TMT, the protesters celebrated the decision.
According to the Hawaii Supreme Court decision, the construction permit for the Thirty Meter Telescope was awarded wrongfully by the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
“Quite simply, the board put the cart before the horse when it issued the permit before the request for a contested case hearing was resolved and the hearing was held. Accordingly, the permit cannot stand”,
reads a short fragment of the opinion issued by the Hawaii Supreme Court.
The Board of Land and Natural Resources issued the construction for the Thirty Meter Telescope in 2011. At the time, the protesters arguing against the construction had the right to participate in a contested hearing. However, the construction permit was released before the protesters’ contested hearing was scheduled.
As a result, more protests followed, many resulting in property damage, roads blocked and several arrests. As the Thirty Meter Telescope construction permit revoked by Hawaii Supreme Court has left the continuation of the project on shaky grounds, the chair of the TMT International Observatory Board of Directors Henry Yang declared the process will be followed lawfully and the decision is met with full respect.
The Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea would have a collecting area nine times that of the conventional optical telescopes. Its position on Mauna Kea peak would render it unique in its ability to catch glimpses of objects as far a 13 billion light years distance. Scientifically, the Thirty Meter Telescope would have been an open window to the earlier stages of the universe, providing unique insights to scientists.
Photo Credits: Wikimedia