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LETTER: Call for TMT Moratorium ‘Grandstanding’

April 6, 2015, 8:31 AM HST
* Updated April 6, 8:33 AM
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OHA Trustee Peter Apo called for a 30-day construction moratorium to be imposed on Mauna Kea. I’m curious what is the endgame after the 30-day construction moratorium expires. The anti-astronomy groups don’t want the Thirty Meter Telescope built on Mauna Kea –even though UH, TMT, and DLNR have bent over backwards to appease their concerns.

The Thirty Meter Telescope project went through a seven-year public vetting process, which included a lengthy contested case hearing for the conservation district use permit. The hearing officer upheld the BLNR’s findings, so the BLNR granted the CDUP and the site lease.

The University of Hawai’i also implemented a comprehensive management plan for the Mauna Kea Science Reserve. This was mandated after the Keck Outrigger decision. The comprehensive management plan has imposed strict conditions on future telescope projects on Mauna Kea. The TMT will be the last new telescope constructed on Mauna Kea; future telescopes will recycle existing facilities and footprint.

In short, I strongly believe OHA Trustee Apo’s call to place a temporary moratorium on the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope is pure and simple grandstanding.

Aaron Stene

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