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Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Lawsuit Strips TMT of Canary Islands Permit
By Andrew Walden @ 9:42 PM :: 3065 Views :: Hawaii County , Environment, Greenmail, Higher Education, OHA

by Andrew Walden

If the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) is not built in Hawaii, it can just go to the Canary Islands, right?

Wrong.

Media accounts have portrayed the TMT backup site on Roque doe los Muchachos, on the Canary Island of La Palma as a “no opposition” alternative to the contentious Mauna Kea proposal.

But a lawsuit filed by Canary Islands environmental activists has already forced revocation of TMT’s authorization to occupy the proposed Canary Islands construction site.  And the activists say they are just getting started.   

In response to questions from Hawai’i Free Press, Pablo Batista, spokesperson for Ben Magec Ecologistas en Acción en Canarias, explains:

The lawsuit to which you have had access was filed on June 12, 2018, within the judicial procedure initiated by Ben Magec - Ecologistas en Acción in February 2018 against an authorization to occupy "Monte de Utilidad Pública" for the construction of the TMT granted in November 2017 by the government of the Island of La Palma. 

“The result of that judicial procedure was the revocation of the concession by means of the judicial sentence dated May 2, 2019.

“We are concerned about the proliferation of telescopes in a very sensitive and fragile part of the island, full of natural and cultural values that need protection. But the TMT is not just another telescope, it would be the tallest building on the island of La Palma in the least suitable place.

“The territory intended by the TMT consortium for its possible location on La Palma is a protected natural area of the European Network Natura 2000, Special Area of Conservation ZEC ES7020084 and Special Area for Protection of Birds ZEPA ES0000114, therefore a protected habitat, with a high presence of protected species, as is the entire summit of La Palma, as can be seen on the official website visor.grafcan.es/visorweb/, entering the Protected Species section and placing you at coordinates x: 217.125 y: 3.183.950, centre of the "building ground" of the TMT. (We attach a PDF file with the report obtained.)

“In addition to the aforementioned protection figures, it is a mountain catalogued as a public utility and a peripheral protection zone of the Caldera de Taburiente National Park. The ZEC Management Plan includes the priority conservation area with the inexcusable aim of recovering and protecting the habitat, as well as the Insular Territorial Plan.

“It is also an area with archaeological sites, there are three stations of petroglyphs of our aboriginal ancestors. The General Plan of the municipality prohibits all land movement and the only works allowed are those necessary for the conservation of archaeological heritage.

“The environmental document of the TMT project recognizes that the intended zone is, of all alternatives, the one that would have the greatest environmental and cultural impact. The site chosen is, by far, the one that needs more earth movement, more clearing, more embankment.

“With that background, our fight is going to have an important legal component. It has already begun. We have succeeded in having a judge of the Superior Court of Justice of the Canary Islands revoke the concession of land for the construction of the TMT. Now they have had to start that procedure again, and we will challenge it again. Every administrative step that the TMT tries to take to build on the chosen site on La Palma we are going to take to court, because we are convinced that we can enforce the environmental and cultural protection standards that we must all comply with and respect, also TIO. We will spare no effort.”

PDF: Canary Islands Lawsuit Against TMT

PDF: Ecologically Sensitive Areas near Canary Islands TMT Site 

UPDATE: Thirty Meter Telescope faces hurdles in Canary Islands 

Sept 26, 2019: The Board of Protected Natural Areas addresses the procedures for the construction of the TMT in La Palma  --  "The concession was effective in December 2017, although it was subsequently declared void by judgment of April 10, 2019, of the Contentious-Administrative Court No. 2 of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.  Therefore, the administrative procedure is currently being processed to grant a new concession with the consequent procedures of public information and consultation of interested parties."

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