Hawaii halts telescope: Hawaii Telescope Permit

Published: December 4, 2015

Hawaii halts telescope: Hawaii Telescope Permit, A long-awaited Hawaii Supreme Court ruling Wednesday invalidating a construction permit for what would be one of the world’s largest telescopes represents a major setback for the $1.4 billion project on a mountain astronomers tout for having perfect star-gazing conditions.

The ruling is a victory for protesters who say they are fighting the project to curb development, preserve Native Hawaiian culture and protect the Big Island’s Mauna Kea, a mountain many consider sacred.

The court ruled that the state Board of Land and Natural Resources should not have issued a permit for the telescope before a hearings officer reviewed a petition by a group challenging the project’s approval.

“Today’s decision provides direction to a new land board and another opportunity for people to discuss Mauna Kea’s future,” state Attorney General Doug Chin said in a statement. “The attorney general’s office will be advising the land board regarding next steps.”

A group of universities in California and Canada plan to build the Thirty Meter Telescope with partners from China, India and Japan.

“We thank the Hawaii Supreme Court for the timely ruling and we respect their decision,” TMT International Observatory Board of Directors Chairman Henry Yang said in a statement. “TMT will follow the process set forth by the state, as we always have. We are assessing our next steps on the way forward.”

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