- Progress on the $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii is still being blocked by protesters one year after starting and stopping construction several times, and business leaders are now urging Hawaii Gov. David Ige to provide "safe passage" past protesters so that construction can resume, reports KITV.
- The telescope’s proponents contend in a letter to Ige that he is ignoring the law by allowing the protesters to interfere with access to the site and not enforcing the emergency rules, which prohibit protesters from occupying areas on and around the site.
- Native Hawaiian groups have said Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano, is sacred land, and they oppose construction of the astronomical observatory under any circumstances and have vowed to keep blocking access to the site.
The letter from the 14 Hawaii business groups, including chambers of commerce and pro-union trade groups, lists the benefits of the telescope project, such as an influx of jobs and a demonstration of support for high-tech industries.
Ige said he has already been enforcing the Department of Land and Natural resources emergency rules allowing him to aggressively remove protesters from the site, and said he is not the one waiting to proceed with the project, KITV reported. "The project needs to decide when they want to proceed and how they want to proceed," he said, referring to the telescope planners.
Regardless of who decides to take the next steps to get the project moving, protesters promise to be there to prevent work from continuing.
"If they're committed to building the TMT, right on, go for it," protestor Kahookahi Kanuha told KITV. "But, we are just as committed to stopping it, and the difference between their commitment and our commitment, is our commitment is based upon truth. Their commitment is based upon lies and a revisionist, false, made-up history."