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Tuesday, August 25, 2020
Feds Have Funds: Want to Talk to Telescope Protesters About Money
By News Release @ 12:54 PM :: 1233 Views :: Hawaii County , Greenmail, Higher Education, OHA

Speaker Saiki Announces National Science Foundation's Outreach for Thirty Meter Telescope

News Release from Hawaii House Democratic Caucus, August 18, 2020

Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – House Speaker Scott Saiki announced that the National Science Foundation (NSF) has initiated an informal outreach process to engage stakeholders interested in the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project. After listening to and considering the stakeholders' viewpoints, NSF will decide whether to initiate a formal federal environmental review process for TMT. All stakeholders are encouraged to participate by contacting NSF at: AST-MK@nsf.gov.

Speaker Saiki stated: "TMT is a consequential project for Hawaiʻi. It is critical that all persons and organizations that have a position on TMT contact NSF so that their opinions can be heard." 

(Translation: NSF says everybody who might possibly become a protester needs to apply for these Simoleons so they will accept the project.)

NSF's announcement is as follows and may also be found at >>> LINK <<<. 

NSF statement on U.S. Extremely Large Telescope program proposals August 13, 2020

Due to Privacy Act restrictions, NSF typically cannot identify the organizations or associated details of funding proposals it receives.  However, three organizations publicly disclosed their submission of proposals to NSF for planning and design of a U.S. Extremely Large Telescope program.  NSF can, therefore, confirm receipt of proposals from the organizations developing the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), and NSF’s NOIRLab (a federally funded research and development center). 

NSF understands that potential construction of TMT on Maunakea is a sensitive issue and plans to engage in early and informal outreach efforts with stakeholders, including Native Hawaiians, to listen to and seek an understanding of their viewpoints. If NSF ultimately initiates a formal federal environmental review process, this advance outreach would serve as a precursor to it.

NSF’s receipt of a proposal and its initiation of an informal outreach effort are not reflective of NSF’s position regarding any project. To request a discussion with NSF related to Maunakea and potential NSF involvement in the TMT project, please contact us by e-mail at: AST-MK@nsf.gov.  

(Translation: NSF says everybody who might possibly become a protester needs to apply by email for these Simoleons.)

OHA Negotiating Position: “$50 million per year

  *   *   *   *   *

UC Regents: TMT Focus is on 2033 Expiration of Master Lease

Daily Nexus UCSB Aug 25, 2020: … “We have been sitting here for six years with no specific game[plan] to get to the finish line,” UC Regent Richard Leib said about the Thirty Meter Telescope at the UC Board of Regents meeting on July 30. …

Leib’s comments summed up a landmark discussion about the future of the $2.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT)…

The UC has provided over $100 million to the project since it broke ground in 2014, according to UC San Francisco Senior Vice Chancellor Paul Jenny, and continues to fund it through a joint agreement with CalTech and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (GBMF). Though the funding is on schedule, the project itself is not. 

The telescope was supposed to be completed in 2020, but Native Hawaiian protestors have held off construction efforts for years by blocking Mauna Kea’s sole access road and engaging in lengthy legal battles. The latest expected completion date is 2027, according to TMT’s website.

TMT International Observatory LLC (TIO) currently pays $1 million per year for its lease on Mauna Kea to build TMT. But the current lease agreement expires in 2033, and if the telescope isn’t finished before then, there’s no guarantee the land agreement will be renewed, according to Jenny. …

Bolte added that TIO, which was formed in 2014 and includes the UC as one of six partners, has consulted with the Mauna Kea cultural group Kahu Kū Mauna and contributes $2 million per-year towards local Hawaiian community programs.  

This includes support for local Hawaiian K-12 S.T.E.M. programs and a workforce pipeline program for community colleges in Hawaii, Bolte said. The University of Hawaii has also agreed to decommission three telescopes on Mauna Kea in exchange for the construction of TMT, and, most recently, TIO has applied for roughly a billion dollars in funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), he added. …

not all Native Hawaiians oppose the project. Mailani Neal is a Native Hawaiian graduate student who’s worked at telescopes on Mauna Kea and has supported the project for over half a decade. 

Neal created a petition for TMT supporters but said she has received threats of violence for her advocacy and has been alienated by long-time friends and family. 

Kalepa Baybayan, an astronomy advocate and Native Hawaiian mariner of 48 years, believes that Mauna Kea is a “gift” to science and should be treated as such. 

“I have always maintained that the mountain was large enough if the community chooses to share the space fairly amongst all users,” he said, arguing that TIO has the legal right to proceed with the project.  

Despite the harsh words from critics, the Regents were not keen on abandoning its partnership with TIO. UC Regent Charlene Zettel worried about the UC’s optics for future international endeavors should it cut all ties with the project. 

Jenny said that the decision to walk away from the telescope project wouldn’t sit well with GBMF, whose $250 million pledge to the project is one of the largest in UC history. …

Precisely as Explained: The Mauna Kea master lease expires in 2033.  The real question is whether OHA can force an early reopener and get an even larger cut of the action

read … Amid Backlash and Uncertainty, UC Regents Hold Heated Discussion on Future of TMT

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