No Timeframe for TMT construction on Maunakea, Officials Say

February 18, 2020, 3:46 PM HST (Updated February 18, 2020, 5:22 PM)
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As an agreement to hold off construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope comes to an end, TMT officials say they don’t have a timeframe for beginning work on Maunakea.

“We continue to engage in private discussions with community members in finding a peaceful, lawful and non-violent way forward that honors and supports our scientific goals, environmental stewardship and the traditions and culture of Hawai‘i,” TMT officials told Big Island Now Tuesday.

Hawai‘i County Mayor Harry Kim brokered a truce with demonstrators who blocked the Maunakea Access Road for five months in an effort to keep TMT construction beginning on the mountain.

The demonstrators, who call themselves the kia‘i, or protectors, agreed to the terms and moved off the road in later December. The protectors view Maunakea as sacred Hawaiian land and believe the construction of TMT as a desecration.

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The protectors have maintained a presence on the mauna during the grace period.

The agreement ends on Feb. 29. Kim told Hawaii Tribune Herald that he as asked for another two-month extension to give both sides the opportunity to find common ground and reach a mutual agreement.

TMT spokesperson confirmed to Big Island Now that Mayor Kim reached out to TMT about the proposed extended two-month grace period.

Noe Noe Wong-Wilson, one of the leaders of the protest, told HTH that she hopes the period can be extended, in order to give TMT officials more time to consider building elsewhere.

This is a developing story. More information will be provided when it becomes available.

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