The Thirty Meter Telescope is set for construction on top of Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawai’i. It is not without controversy. While there are many telescopes on top of the mountain, a total of 12, all from various international science organizations, the mountain is considered sacred to native Hawaiians.
It has been a 10 year process that went through the courts, environmental impact studies, and government permits. Now that all the legal steps have been cleared, Governor David Ige announced construction of the TMT will begin on July 15, 2019.
The construction will create a lot of jobs for years. Hawai’i will advance as the premier world location for astronomical sciences. The TMT will create 140 permanent jobs. Over 400 construction jobs. $I Million dollars in STEM education on the island. $30 Million in leases. Millions more in education, high tech jobs, and science contributions. The State and County of Hawai’i will benefit enormously.
Native Hawaiians consider the mountain sacred, and protests have begun. Protesters have camped themselves on Saddle Road, also known as Danial K. Inouye Hwy. Some protesters have chained themselves to a gate on the observatory access road. Heavy construction equipment was schedule to arrive, but was canceled because of the protesters. There are hundreds of protester at the entrance of the access road.
Counter protesters were in Hilo along Hwy 11, Kanoelehua road, to support the TMT. They held signs in support of the TMT.
While I sympathize with the protesters and I respect their religious protection of the mountain, I have to wonder where they were when the islands were being scared with windmills and solar farms. They let the religion of environmentalism destroy the land.
If the mountain is part of the island, the ‘Aina, shouldn’t it be all sacred? I’m supporting the TMT because the economic benefits outweigh any religious aspect. Plus observatories have been on the mountain for decades and have made astonishing discoveries. Besides the scientists, no Hawaiian lives on top of Mauna Kea.