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BLNR approves TMT permit

Updated: 
September 28, 2017 - 10:21am

HONOLULU — The state Board of Land and Natural Resources on Thursday voted 5-2 to adopt the recommendation of retired judge Riki May Amano to approve the application for a Conservation District Use Permit to build the Thirty-Meter Telescope.

“This was one of the most difficult decisions this Board has ever made. The members greatly respected and considered the concerns raised by those opposed to the construction of the Thirty-Meter Telescope at the Mauna Kea Science Reserve,” said Suzanne Case, who chairs the BLNR and Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Supporters of the project testified during a contested case hearing and in oral arguments that Hawaiian culture and modern science can co-exist on the mountain, according to a DLNR press release.

Construction of the TMT is expected to provide jobs for more than 100 people and at completion, permanent jobs for as many as 140 workers on Hawaii Island, DLNR said in a press release. The consortium of research universities behind the TMT have provided $2.5 million for scholarships, classroom projects, and STEM grants every year since 2014.

Under the use permit, builders of the TMT must provide an additional $1 million each year for college scholarships for native Hawaiians and other educational initiatives on Hawaii Island.

The Board adopted 43 conditions to the permit including Gov. David Ige’s previously detailed “path forward” 10-point plan requiring the University of Hawaii to decommission three existing telescopes, any future development to occur on existing sites, and the TMT site to be the last new site on Mauna Kea.

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