East Hawaii News

Governor on TMT: ‘This is Not the Start of Construction’

November 17, 2015, 11:31 AM HST
* Updated November 17, 6:44 PM
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As tension grows on Mauna Kea with rumors of Thirty Meter Telescope crews heading up the mountain on Wednesday, Governor David Ige released a statement about TMT’s plan.

Governor Ige says the crew’s plan is not to conduct construction activities, but to repair equipment already on the mountain and to re-secure the construction site.

TMT International Observatory Board of Governors Chair Henry Yang announced last Tuesday that a crew would head up Mauna Kea at some point during the month to conduct site preparation activities.

“The maintenance and equipment repair work TMT plans to undertake will protect the environment and enhance public safety as we head into the winter season,” said Governor Ige. “This is not the start of construction of the telescope.

“As governor, I am committed to upholding the law and providing safe access for those who need to get to the summit of Mauna Kea, and that includes those involved with the TMT project. Our primary concern is for the safety of all.

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“If this work is stopped, it is not a victory. It will harm the environment. If there is violence, as some have suggested, that is not a victory. We are one community and we must continue to search for a resolution that will keep this community together.”

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Last week, Mauna Kea opponents and movement leaders told Big Island Now that the issue was not with the maintenance of the equipment, noting ongoing complaints that oil was leaking from machinery, but rather the further desecration of the mountain held so sacred to Native Hawaiians.

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