GROUP CHALLENGES UNIVERSITY PERMIT: THIRTY-METER TELESCOPE CONSTRUCTION HAS NOT BEGUN ON MAUNA KEA
News Release from Ka Lahui Hawai’i, May 24, 2021
HONOLULU, Hawai‘i - Parties from the 2016-17 contested case against the University of Hawai‘i Hilo’s application for a Department of Land and Natural Resources’ permit to construct the Thirty-Meter Telescope are now challenging DLNR’s approval of the University’s April 28, 2021 letter, which stated TMT construction has started in compliance with permit conditions. DLNR’s approval of the letter effectively excuses the University from requesting a permit extension at a public hearing before the Board.
Mauna Kea Anaina Hou, Kealoha Pisciotta, Kū Ching, Deborah J. Ward, Paul Neves, and KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance opposed DLNR’s approval, pointing out that no TMT construction has occurred and the issue should go to the Board as part of re-opened contested case hearings. “The purpose of time limits on conservation district use permits, including UHH’s permit, is to allow the Board to revisit applicants’ representations of its projects and any changed conditions or unexpected circumstances. UHH’s concession that it has not been able to construct the TMT requires the Board to re-examine the permit,” states the group’s motion.
Kū Ching took issue with the University’s claim that its destruction of an ahu counts as initiating construction, stating, “the thriving of Hawaiian cultural practice has given rise to expanded awareness and activity on Mauna Kea that includes constructing ahu and protection of these lands as part of a sacred trust.” He continued, “The fact of the many thousands of people seeking to express their opposition to further construction on Mauna Kea in 2019 was not before the Board when it issued its 2017 Order.” The group raised other changed conditions including a $1 billion shortfall for TMT funding, the Canadian Astronomical Association’s recent statement that it cannot support the TMT without Native Hawaiians’ consent, and DLNR’s own critical evaluation of University outreach and consultation with Hawaiians.
The Board has not scheduled a hearing on this motion as of this writing.
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TMT satisfies initiation of work/construction permit requirement
UH News May 14, 2021
Following a review of project activities shared by Thirty Meter Telescope International Observatory (TIO) with the University of Hawaiʻi, UH notified the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) on April 28, 2021, that work/construction on the TMT project was initiated in 2019 based on project activities in June and July of that year. DLNR has confirmed that this requirement has been satisfied.
This notification to DLNR is required by the Conservation District Use Permit issued by the Board of Land and Natural Resources in September 2017. The project activities in June and July of 2019 included removal of unpermitted structures; onsite GPS verification of locations and coordinates; construction kick-off meeting with civil contractor and subcontractors to review procedures, safety protocols and other related items; locating and surveying onsite underground fiber optic and electrical lines; inspections of TIO construction equipment for invasive species; and the mobilization of 18 vehicles and equipment to the worksite.
The mobilization of vehicles and equipment in July 2019 was blocked for several months by opponents of the project. The work was unable to continue due to factors beyond the control of UH and the project. Future activity has not been announced by TIO.
LINK: Review the UH letter at the DLNR TMT website
PDF: TMT 'Start of Construction'
HTH: UH: Some work on TMT project did begin in 2019
SA: No new permits needed for Thirty Meter Telescope, University of Hawaii says
TMT foes challenge declaration that work has begun
SA May 25, 2021: … The Mauna Kea Hui filed a motion Monday with the Board of Land and Natural Resources demanding that the contested case hearing be reopened.
The board signed off on an April 28 letter from permit applicant University of Hawaii at Hilo declaring that TMT construction has started in compliance with permit conditions.
But Monday’s (May 24, 2021) motion argues that the university “incorrectly represented” that the condition of the permit has been satisfied, and therefore a hearing should be held before the board….
read … TMT foes challenge declaration that work has begun