Hearing process begins on controversial Thirty Meter Telescope project

An update on the controversial Thirty Meter Telescope that’s planned for the top of Mauna Kea.

The first in a series of meetings were held Friday in Hilo that’ll determine the future of the project. The hearing comes after the Hawaii Supreme Court invalidated the permit the state granted for the building of the $1.4 billion project.

Those opposing the construction of the telescope said the Board of Land and Natural Resources approved the permit before a contested case hearing was held and denied those challenging the project their due process right to be heard.

On Friday, the hearing officer, retired Hilo judge Riki May Amano, outlined who would be able to heard this time around.

Anti- and pro-TMT groups and individuals were chosen, as well as TMT itself.

“We’re happy to be part of the proceedings,” said TMT attorney Doug Ing. “We look forward to a fair, transparent and efficient process.”

“It’s another opportunity to keep our mountain safe,” said TMT protester Kahookahi Kanuha. “The opportunity last year was to be on the mountain and to physically stop it. We achieved that, and now we can see what’s being done in the future, and that they’re going to try to do that again.”

It’s unclear just how long the process will take, but a spokesman for TMT says they hope to get the permit and restart work on the telescope by the end of this year.

Earlier in June, the board denied a motion to disqualify Amano as the hearing officer in the case.

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