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Opponents vow to continue fighting giant telescope project

December 7, 2018

HONOLULU (AP) — Opponents of a giant telescope planned for Hawaii’s tallest mountain have vowed to keep fighting even after the legal battle over the $1.4 billion project appears to have ended.

Dozens of University of Hawaii faculty, staff and students rallied at the Honolulu campus Wednesday, demanding that officials terminate agreements to build the Thirty Meter Telescope, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported .

The state Supreme Court refused last week to reconsider its October ruling that the state land board was correct in approving a construction permit for the project on Mauna Kea, a Big Island mountain some Native Hawaiians consider sacred.

Members of the university’s faculty and staff urged administrators to reject proposed administrative rules governing activities on the mountain. They also said the university’s pursuit of the project has violated of ethical research standards, noting that demonstrations against the project’s construction have led to 57 arrests.

“The arrests of dozens of people, particularly the native people of this land, for research infrastructure is an unacceptable cost for any kind of research and is a glaring contradiction to what many of us teach our students in a wide variety of disciplines about ethical relationship between research, researchers, place and community,” they said in a statement read aloud at the event.

University spokesman Dan Meisenzahl said the school remains committed to the project, noting the university is listening and aims to do a better job.

“The TMT project has followed all of the legal requirements that has included more than 20 public hearings, an extensive environmental review process, two contested case hearings and has been upheld in the state Supreme Court,” Meisenzahl said. “The process has taken 10 years and the project will continue to do all that is legally required and more.”

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com

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