In a long-awaited decision, the Hawai‘i Supreme Court has affirmed the state Board of Land and Natural Resources’ decision to issue a construction permit for the $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea. “We’re pleased the court carefully weighed all the varied and passionate testimony about TMT,” said Governor Ige. “We believe this decision is fair and right and will continue to keep Hawai‘i at the forefront of astronomy.”
University of Hawai‘i President David Lassner added, “TMT will not only represent a major advance in humankind’s knowledge of the universe, it will have tremendously positive educational and economic impacts for the people of Hawai‘i island and the entire state.” Also praising the decision were Suzanne Case, director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), and attorney general Russell Suzuki. “DLNR will continue to work closely with UH on next steps to move this project forward,”said Case.
In his 10-point plan for better stewardship of Mauna Kea, the governor asked that the TMT site be “the last area on the mountain where a telescope project will be completed or sought.” Three other telescopes on the mountain are scheduled to be decommissioned. The consortium of research universities behind TMT have provided $2.5 million for scholarships, classroom projects and STEM grants every year since 2014. TMT will also provide an additional one million dollars each year for college scholarships for native Hawaiians and other educational initiatives on Hawai‘i island.
TMT must now submit construction plans to the DLNR for review and approval. If construction starts next year, it’s estimated the telescope would be completed in 2029.