East Hawaii News

OHA Rescinds Support of TMT Location

April 30, 2015, 4:07 PM HST
* Updated April 30, 4:08 PM
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The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has voted to rescind its previous support of the location of the Thirty Meter Telescope project.

OHA’s decision followed a Board of Trustees meeting held Thursday in Honolulu. A majority of the meeting was spent listening to public testimony. Following the testimony, OHA took an internal vote regarding its stance on the proposed site of the TMT.

During the opening of the meeting, OHA policy advocates discussed a recent survey conducted by OHA to understand the opinion of the survey-taker, should OHA support one of the opposing views or remain neutral.

OHA’s Board of Trustees Thursday ultimately passed a motion in a 6-1 vote to rescind its past approval of Mauna Kea as the site for the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope Project.

Dr. Henry Yang, Chair of the TMT International Observatory Board, made the following statement following OHA’s decision:

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“For nearly eight years, we have respectfully met with, listened to, and actively engaged with native Hawaiians and respected elders, schoolchildren and teachers, university faculty and students, legislators and government officials, community volunteers, members of the local workforce, and more, to understand community thoughts and concerns. We worked together to create a comprehensive plan that addresses environmental sensitivities, respect for native Hawaiian culture and spirituality, and forward-looking educational opportunities and new, advanced career options for youth. A primary focus of our TMT programs is the stewardship of Mauna Kea.

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“We are naturally disappointed that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs has changed its position on the Thirty Meter Telescope project. However, we are by no means discouraged. We must now redouble our commitment to respectfully continuing dialogue and engagement with OHA and all other stakeholders.”

OHA’s Board of Trustees in 2009 adopted a motion to support Mauna Kea as the site for TMT.

According to a letter obtained by TMT and written to former Governor Linda Lingle, who was in office at the time, OHA Chair Haunani Apoliona stated that “In consideration of various cultural and economic factors, the OHA Board of Trustees resolved to support the selection of Maunakea, Hawai’i as the site for the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope Project.”

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Big island Now will continue to follow developments reagarding the TMT project.

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