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LETTER: State Sen. Kahele & TMT

July 19, 2019, 8:13 AM HST
* Updated July 21, 7:35 AM
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State Senator Kai Kahele’s recent actions haven’t helped the ongoing Thirty Meter Telescope impasse on Mauna Kea. Firstly, he posts on social media that the TMT’s conservation district use permit expires on September 26, 2019. This revelation has given the protesters additional reason to stonewall this project until then, which doesn’t help law enforcement, or the protesters, for that matter.

Senator Kahele has also advocated for a moratorium, or “cooling off period” of 60 days on the start of construction. This moratorium would expire uncomfortably close to the 2 year end of the CDUP mandated start of construction. It shouldn’t be surprising though, as he is strongly opposed to astronomy on Maunakea. He’d rather let the Canary Islands get this telescope, which will slowly kill astronomy on Maunakea.

The backers of the Thirty Meter Telescope have been more than patient during the past 10 years. They’ve successful fended off all legal challenges thus far. The courts have ultimately given their authorization that construction can begin, but instead we have a repeat the 2015 protests over again. In addition, we have state senator on a mission to destroy astronomy as we know it on Maunakea.

Senator Kahele, Hawaii needs good, high paying, jobs. The telescopes on Maunakea provide those jobs, and a much-needed economic boost to the state totaling in the millions of dollars. Hawaii desperately needs that economic balance, especially when we we’re so dependent on tourism, construction, and military. If the backers of the Thirty Meter Telescope decide to relocate to the Canary Islands because of these ongoing protests, it will be devastating blow to astronomy on Maunakea, and to the State of Hawaii.

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