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TMT Equipment Removal Underway

December 16, 2015, 1:51 PM HST (Updated December 16, 2015, 1:51 PM)
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Removal of construction equipment that was set to be used on the $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope project is underway.

Self-proclaimed “protectors” of the mountain said they saw the trucks heading up Mauna Kea Wednesday morning and that the group of individuals were at the summit before heading down to Hale Pohaku, where they were awaiting the trucks to descend the mountain with equipment in tow.

The repair work reportedly conducted on Tuesday was set to have been completed in mid-November, however, the day before work was rumored to begin, the Hawai’i Supreme Court issued a temporary stay against TMT that held through Dec. 2, invalidating TMT’s permit.

On Dec. 2, when the temporary stay was set to expire, the Hawai’i Supreme Court made the decision to invalid TMT’s Conservation District Use Permit, laying a heavier hand on the controversial project.

The Hawai’i Supreme Court said that the Board of Land and Natural Resources “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.”

Under the invalidation, TMT would have to head back to court and pursue a new hearing.

On Wednesday, in the wake of the equipment removal, TMT International Observatory Board of Governors Henry Yang issued a statement regarding the removal:

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“We respect the Hawai’i Supreme Court decision and, as good neighbors and stewards of the mountain, TMT has begun relocating construction vehicles and equipment from Maunakea. Some maintenance work was needed before transporting the vehicles down the mountain, given that they have been idle since April. We thank everyone as we assess our next steps forward.”

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