Hawaii Supreme Court upholds telescope construction on Haleakala

(Photo: National Solar Observatory/AURA/NSF)
(Photo: National Solar Observatory/AURA/NSF)

The Hawaii Supreme Court has ruled against opponents of a solar telescope being built on Maui.

By a 3-2 majority, the court affirmed the state Board of Land and Natural Resources’ 2012 decision to grant a permit to build the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope on Haleakala. When complete, it will be the largest solar telescope in the world.

Read the full court opinion here.

Furthermore, the court unanimously agreed that the management plan for Haleakala’s summit provided a sufficient assessment of potential environmental impacts from the telescope.

Read the full court opinion here.

Construction of the telescope sparked several protests on Maui last year.

The Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation, which represented the petitioner, Kilakila O Haleakalā, said in a statement: “We are disappointed with the court’s decision. This decision impacts all who are concerned about the protection of Hawai‘i’s natural and cultural resources. We respect Justice Wilson’s articulate dissent and remain committed to ensuring these important resources receive the protection they so urgently and rightfully command.”

Attorney General Doug Chin said in a statement: “We respect the Court’s decisions and will consider them carefully to determine what impact, if any, they have on future matters before the state land board, including the Thirty Meter Telescope. The justices continue to stress the importance of conducting a fair process for all projects on public lands.”

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