Tag Archives: TMT

TMT legal case in Hawaii gets messier

The permit process in Hawaii for the Thirty Meter Telescope has gotten far messier, with the telescope’s opponents appealing to the state’s Supreme Court, complaining about witness procedures and the lawyers who are working for the state, while the land board running the procedures has asked the court to dismiss this appeal.

Essentially, the opponents are using every trick in the book to delay the permit process, and it appears that the law in Hawaii, including one just passed in August, is designed to aid them in this tactic.

TMT will not be built in Hawaii.The consortium that is building it needs a decision by early next year at the latest. They ain’t gonna get it. The luddites going to win, and Hawaii will be far poorer because of it.

TMT consortium picks Canary Islands as alternative site to Hawaii

Faced with delays from protesters and an Hawaiian government slow-walking its permit process, the consortium building the Thirty Meter Telescope has announced that it will build the telescope on the Canary Islands if it continues to be blocked in Hawaii.

The article does not say when they will make this decision, but based on previous reports, they have to make their decision soon in order to begin construction no later than April 2018.

I fully expect them to abandon Hawaii, since I see no desire by the Hawaiian government to play fair during the new permit hearings. Instead, it seems to me that they are rigging this process so that it will never end.

Posted from the south rim of the Grand Canyon, where Diane and I plan a nice day hike tomorrow down the Hermit Trail.

TMT hearing a fiasco

The initial hearing in Hawaii for the second permit application of the Thirty Meter Telescope today appears to have been a complete fiasco, designed to extend the proceedings as long as possible, ad infinitum.

Confusion reigned as Thursday’s hearing got underway in a Hilo hotel banquet room. Various telescope opponents complained about the scheduling and location of the hearing. One lawyer wanted to know the process for making objections. More than an hour went by before the first witness, environmental planner Perry White, was called to testify.

All witnesses will be allowed to provide a 10-minute summary of written testimony already submitted. But before White could provide his summary, there were various objections about qualifying him as an expert. Nearly two dozen people— many who are individual telescope opponents who don’t have lawyers representing them — will have a chance to cross-examine each witness.

Cross-examination of White will resume Monday.

It is very clear to me that Hawaii is stalling, designing the hearings so that they will last forever. TMT will never get built in Hawaii. It is time to say bye-bye and go somewhere where knowledge and technology is treasured.

TMT considers alternative sites to Hawaii

Faced with a continuing legal battle to build the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), the consortium running is now seriously considering alternative sites.

Potential Northern Hemisphere sites include San Pedro Mártir in Baja California in Mexico and Roque de los Muchachos on La Palma, a Spanish island off the Atlantic coast of Morocco. “Our friends in La Palma are pushing hard” to get the TMT, says Matt Mountain, president of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy in Washington, D.C. But neither alternative matches the seeing conditions on Mauna Kea, and they would bring extra cost and complication. The project has already ruled out sites in the Himalayas, put forward by India and China—both TMT partners along with the United States, Japan, and Canada—because they are too far from ports and have short construction seasons.

The TMT governors are expected to choose their top alternative site later this month. Regardless of what happens in Hawaii, the governors have vowed to start construction—on Mauna Kea or elsewhere—no later than April 2018.

It is clear that Mauna Kea in Hawaii is the best location. Unfortunately, they are faced with the reality that there might be years of delays before they ever get permission to build, if they get permission at all.

Hawaii Supreme Court approves solar telescope construction

Even as the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on Mauna Kea remains in legal limbo, the Hawaii Supreme Court today ruled that the permits for the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope on Haleakala were correct and that construction can go forward.

Not surprisingly, the protesters who have lost this case immediately indicated that they will fight it with continued protests, not unlike a 3-year-old who doesn’t get his way and starts to scream and yell and pound the floor.

Meanwhile, the TMT court case is supposed to resume later this month.

TMT will probably not go to India

An Indian astronomer, in testimony to India’s parliament, has explained that for engineering and technical reasons India will likely not be the new location of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT).

Essentially, the skies are clearer in the Canary Islands and in Chile.

This story is important in that it confirms that the consortium building TMT is now very seriously considering abandoning Hawaii, and might already have decided to do so. It also suggests that the Canary Islands is in the lead as the new location, since they want a site that can see the skies of the northern hemisphere, something that won’t be possible in Chile.

Poll shows Hawaiians strongly favor TMT

A new poll shows that by a 2 to 1 margin Hawaiians are in favor of building the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT).

  • 89 percent of Hawaii Island residents agree there should be a way for science and Hawaiian culture to co-exist on Maunakea
  • 76 percent of Hawaii Island residents agree that TMT will help create good paying jobs and economic and educational benefits for those living on Hawaii Island
  • 70 percent of Hawaii Island residents agree that failure to move forward with TMT will hurt educational opportunities for Hawaii Island children with the termination of TMT’s annual $1 million contribution to the THINK Fund and workforce pipeline program
  • 69 percent of Hawaii Island residents agree that TMT has followed a lengthy approval process, so work should proceed

Based on what I’ve seen for the past forty years, this poll will mean nothing. The poll also found that the native Hawaiian population was much less supportive, with only 46 percent in support of the project and 45 percent opposed. And since the Democratic Party that runs Hawaii is a party that cares almost exclusively for the concerns of oppressed minorities over that of the non-native majority, you can bet they will do what the native population wants. The telescope will never get built in Hawaii, and the consortium building TMT had better face this reality and find another location.

TMT likely to abandon Hawaii

Officials from the consortium that is building the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) have revealed that they are looking very seriously at alternative locations.

Officials behind the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) are considering new locations for the $1.4bn facility, and expect to decide whether to opt for a new site early next year. The TMT is due to be built on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea mountain but, following protests from local residents, its building permit was revoked last December by the state’s Supreme Court. New locations that are being considered include Baja California in Mexico, the Canary Islands and Chile, as well as locations in India and China.

They claim that Hawaii is still their first choice, but if they don’t see any progress by summer in the permitting process, I expect them to tell Hawaii to go to hell (though not in those words) and pick somewhere else.

Hawaii turns down requests to remove TMT hearings officer

The state of Hawaii has decided to not replace the hearings officer in charge of the new permitting process for the Thirty Meter Telescope, despite a request by TMT to remove her.

There are different reasons for wanting to replace her. Telescope opponents raise conflict-of-interest concerns over her paid family membership to the Imiloa Astronomy Center. The university takes issue with her mediating another matter involving the Manoa campus. The nonprofit telescope company says replacing her with an alternate would avoid further delay.

“With due respect and consideration to the parties’ various interests and reasons for asking the board to replace Judge Amano, the board cannot and will not sidestep its own administrative responsibility to exercise judgment and common sense regarding whether the selection process up until now has objectively appeared to be fair,” the order said. “Common sense must prevail.”

The situation is a strange one. Despite the fact that the judge would likely rule fairly, TMT wanted her removed because they expect their opponents to eventually dispute any favorable decision she makes because of her link to the astronomy center. By refusing to remove her, the state is actually taking the side of the telescope’s opponents, since their main tactic is delay.

I hope TMT’s builders are making serious plans for finding an alternative site. I do not expect them to ever get permission to build in Hawaii.

TMT calls for removal of official supervising permit process

The University of Hawaii has filed a motion to have the hearing officer in charge of the new permitting process for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) removed.

What the lawyers for TMT appear to be doing is trying to prevent further delaying tactics by those opposing the telescope. Their motion describes these delaying tactics, which involve questioning the objectivity of various officials involved, but doing it piecemeal in order to slow the permitting process down as much as possible. The officer in question has membership in an astronomy center, and though the anti-TMT forces have not yet questioned this, TMT lawyers want to act now to remove that possibility later.

Once again, I think TMT officials are spinning their wheels. Hawaii will never give them permission to build TMT. Read the ten-point plan of Hawaii’s governor for protecting Mauna Kea and you will agree. They should move the telescope to a more friendly location as soon as possible.

ESO signs giant telescope contract

The European Southern Observatory today signed the contract to begin building the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT).

The contract covers the design, manufacture, transport, construction, on-site assembly and verification of the dome and telescope structure. With an approximate value of 400 million euros, it is the largest contract ever awarded by ESO and the largest contract ever in ground-based astronomy. The E-ELT dome and telescope structure will take telescope engineering into new territory. The contract includes not only the enormous 85-metre-diameter rotating dome, with a total mass of around 5000 tonnes, but also the telescope mounting and tube structure, with a total moving mass of more than 3000 tonnes. Both of these structures are by far the largest ever built for an optical/infrared telescope and dwarf all existing ones. The dome is almost 80 metres high and its footprint is comparable in area to a football pitch.

The E-ELT is being built on Cerro Armazones, a 3000-metre peak about 20 kilometres from ESO’s Paranal Observatory. The access road and leveling of the summit have already been completed and work on the dome is expected to start on site in 2017.

E-ELT will have a main mirror 39 meters in width, about 9 meters bigger than the stalled TMT project.

TMT permitting process about to begin anew

The retired Hawaiian judge who will supervise the new permitting process for the Thirty Meter Telescope held a prelminary meeting on Monday to discuss scheduling and procedual matters.

The Hawaiian authorities have been slow-walking this new permiting process, which the telescope already completed according to law years ago. I say TMT should just leave Hawaii so its citizens can enjoy their barren mountain and the lack of jobs and wealth it will bring them.

TMT consortium considers India for telescope

India is now a second candidate location to replace Hawaii for the Thirty Meter Telescope.

Hanle in Ladakh has been short-listed as a prospective site by the TMT board following major hurdles in Mauna Kea, Hawaii – the first choice for the project. An international team is expected to visit Ladakh in a couple of months. … India is already building edge sensors, actuators and system support support assemblies, besides contributing to the software of TMT. India is expected to invest $212 million in the project.

Not only is India contributing technology and money to the telescope, institutes in the country are also participating in the consortium.

Two major scientific institutions – the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) Bengaluru and the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune – along with two government departments having working on the project since 2013. The department of science and technology (DST) and the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) are the government partners, while IIA is the nodal agency.

I think the odds continue to increase that TMT will abandon Hawaii, especially since the state government there continues to drag its feet.

TMT leadership looks at alternatives to Hawaii

Though they have refused to comment publicly, the Facebook page for the Thirty Meter Telescope on Monday showed the telescope’s management visiting the Canary Islands, a potential alternative site to Hawaii.

Their Facebook post serves two purposes. It shows that they mean business when they say they must start considering abandoning Hawaii. It also might force the Hawaiian state government to stop dragging its feet in the permitting process that protesters have forced TMT to go through, a second time.

TMT might abandon Hawaii

The consortium building the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) decided last week that, because of the delays forced on them by protesters in Hawaii, they are going to start identifying alternative locations.

I don’t think they have a choice. They want to start construction no later than 2018, which already involves a three year delay from their original schedule and significant additional costs. I doubt there is any chance that the permit process, which took years the first time they did it, can take anywhere close to that.

TMT to repeat hearings before state

After years of doing everything the state of Hawaii demanded in order to get permission to build the Thirty Meter Telescope, a state judge today ordered that the whole process should start over again.

Since this order was instigated by the protesters, and that it appears the government favors those protesters, I expect that there is no chance TMT will ever get approval to build in Hawaii. Though the university consortium building the telescope says they want to go through the new process to get permission, they are wasting their time. It will never happen. The peasants with the pitchforks and burning torches, terrified of new knowledge while preferring the worship of a mountain, are in control in Hawaii.

Hawaii’s governor expresses empty support for TMT

The coming dark age: In his state of the state address on Monday the Democratic governor of Hawaii, David Ige, expressed weak support for the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on the summit of Mauna Kea.

“In its recent ruling, the Supreme Court did not say don’t do this project,” Governor Ige said. “What it did say was that the state didn’t do the right things in the approval process.  It told us we needed to do a better job of listening to people and giving them a real opportunity to be heard.

“I am committed to pursuing this project and I hope its sponsors will stay with us.  And this time, we will listen carefully to all, reflect seriously on what we have heard and, whatever we do in the end, we will do it the right way.”

These are empty words. Listening to the protesters means the telescope doesn’t get built at all. The protesters made it very clear during their protesters this past year that their’ objective is to stop the telescope, to return to the illiterate native culture that existed before the arrival of the white man and his western civilization. They also made it clear that they are bigots, who want all not-native Hawaiians removed from the island. By saying he wants to “do a better job of listening” to them means that Ige is willing to go along with some of their ideas.

Right now, I am very doubtful TMT will ever get built on Mauna Kea.

Thirty Meter Telescope’s future in Hawaii in state’s hands

The coming dark age: The executive director of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on Friday made it clear that the future of the project in Hawaii is waiting on the state government.

Ed Stone, the project’s executive director, said telescope officials don’t have enough information to decide. “We’re waiting now for the instructions from the courts through the Department of Land and Natural Resources … which they can convey to us what this new process needs to be, what the schedule is and then we can take it into account in deciding what we do next,” he said. “So we can’t really do anything until we have an idea what it is the state’s requiring to see if that’s going to be consistent with what we can do.”

State officials are not holding up the process, state Attorney General Doug Chin said in a statement. “On Dec. 29, the Supreme Court remanded the case to the circuit court to further remand to the Board of Land and Natural Resources so that a contested case hearing can be conducted,” he said. “As of today, the circuit court has not remanded the case. BLNR cannot take action or provide instructions to anyone until this happens.”

The excuse of Hawaii’s attorney general above is garbage. If the governor pushed, he could get the court to move. They are instead allowing the case to languish, which once again tells us that the sympathies of this liberal Democratic Party government lie entirely on the side of the protesters.

Builders of TMT begin removing equipment

The coming dark age: The builders of the Thirty Meter Telescope today began removing construction equipment from the summit of Mauna Kea.

After the Dec. 2 court ruling voiding the permit, the state attorney general’s office said telescope equipment could remain on the mountain. The court sent the matter back for a new contested-case hearing. Telescope officials haven’t indicated whether they will pursue a new hearing, which could mean a construction delay of several years. [emphasis mine]

Essentially, even if the new permitting process approves the telescope, it will be a very long time before they can begin construction. And approval is certainly not guaranteed, considering the anti-white, anti-technology, and anti-civilization attitude that is clearly growing in Hawaii. I suspect that the builders of TMT are planning to get out, and not come back.

Hawaii’s Supreme Court kills TMT

The coming dark age: As I expected the Hawaiian Supreme Court today ruled that the construction permit given to the builders of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) is invalid, putting all construction on Mauna Kea on hold indefinitely.

It is very clear that the very liberal government of Hawaii is on the side of the protesters and is doing what it can to stop construction. Will the builders of TMT recognize this and try to find a new site for the telescope, or will they continue the legal battle to build it in Hawaii? I think they stand no chance of winning in Hawaii, but they might not have any other choice.

I also ask: What about the decisions to decommission other telescopes to make room for TMT? Do those telescopes still get removed, even if TMT isn’t built?

All in all, this decision probably puts an end to new cutting-edge science in Hawaii. Like the Catholic Church’s attack on Galileo (which essentially killed the Renaissance in Italy), astronomers, and in fact all scientists, will likely go elsewhere now to find a friendly haven for the search for knowledge.

Hawaii’s Supreme Court temporarily stops TMT

With the possibility of a new confrontation on Mauna Kea between protesters and the builders of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), Hawaii’s Supreme Court on Tuesday placed a temporary stay on all work until December 2..

Earlier in the week, Thirty Meter Telescope opponents were preparing to face off Wednesday against hundreds of law enforcement officers. But hours before the anticipated showdown, state Department of Land and Natural Resources agents who were scheduled to be on Mauna Kea to ensure TMT crews safe, unobstructed access to the construction site were told to stand down after the state Supreme Court temporarily prevented construction on the mountain until December 2.

TMT officials say they wanted for workers to complete maintenance and repairs on equipment that has sat idle since April, when construction crews were blocked by more than 750 protesters. Opponents of the project say it desecrates a sacred Native Hawaiian place.

At least two heavy-duty machines at the construction are reportedly leaking oil and fuel.

As much as these protesters claim they do not want the mountain desecrated, I believe their real goal, much like the thugs today on college campuses, is the gaining of power. The religious argument is merely a convenient tool for hiding their power grab. And even if they are sincere, their ultimate goal is still racist, as they are hostile to all non-Hawaiian natives, and wish them expunged from the islands.

Under these conditions, I do not see TMT being built on Mauna Kea. Even though the public there generally supports its construction, the public also has a naive sympathy for the protesters (Scroll down in this article to see the poll numbers).

Ground-breaking for the Giant Magellan Telescope in Chile

Even as construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) in Hawaii remains stalled because of protesters, ground has now been broken in Chile for the construction of the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT).

The unique design of the telescope combines seven of the largest mirrors that can be manufactured, each 8.4 meters (27 feet) across, to create a single telescope effectively 25 meters or 85 feet in diameter. The giant mirrors are being developed at the University of Arizona’s Richard F. Caris Mirror Laboratory. Each mirror must be polished to an accuracy of 25 nanometers or one millionth of an inch.

One giant mirror has been polished to meet its exacting specifications. Three others are being processed, and production of the additional mirrors will be started at the rate of one per year. The telescope will begin early operations with these first mirrors in 2021, and the telescope is expected to reach full operational capacity within the next decade.

Assuming TMT ever gets built, it will, unlike GMT, be made up of many small segments.

Two Mauna Kea protesters convicted but get minor sentences

Two protesters who blocked a road leading to the summit of Mauna Kea to block construction vehicles for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) have been convicted of misdeamenors and given very minor sentences.

The state requested six months’ probation, and that they stay off Mauna Kea Access Road for the period of probation. Prosecutors also requested 72 hours of community service in lieu of a $500 fine. Fujiyoshi [one of the protesters] asked for a jail sentence instead of community service, and was sentenced to five days. He will serve one day in jail, with credit for time served; six months’ probation; and was ordered to remain off the access road. Lindsey-Kaapuni [the other protester] argued against probation, and was sentenced to 100 hours of community service.

The state here has no easy solution. If it demands severe punishment the press will make the protesters martyrs. If it lets them off then the protesters will know they can protest as much as they want and face no consequences.

Right now I do not see TMT ever getting built on Mauna Kea. I also see the slow removal of the telescopes already there to be certain, given time. The protesters are in control, and they oppose this search for knowledge about the universe.

Fiber optic cable damaged on Mauna Kea

On the same day hundreds of protesters were blocking construction vehicles from reaching the top of Mauna Kea, the fiber optic connection between the observatories on the summit malfunctioned. Workers have now discovered that the malfunction was caused by a damaged cable that police are now investigating.

The report does not provide any real details, so this failure could be quite innocent. That police are now investigating it and that it took place on the same day as the protests however suggests that it was sabotage.

Hawaii names third telescope to be removed from Mauna Kea

The dark ages return! The University of Hawaii has announced that the UKIRT Observatory on Mauna Kea will be decommissioned, making it the third telescope to be removed in order to try to satisfy the protesters hostile to the construction of the new Thirty Meter Telescope.

You wanna bet this won’t satisfy the protesters and that they will demand more while refusing to end their protests?

Judge rules in favor of telescope protesters

A Hawaiian judge has ruled that the state’s emergency order that had forbid camping on the mountain was invalid.

The state says that it will still prohibit anyone from blocking the road, but I don’t know how they will be able to do that if a large number of protesters camp on the mountain, ready to move and block any construction vehicles trying to get to the mountaintop.

I think it is time for the makers of the Thirty Meter Telescope to consider a move out of Hawaii. I believe they will never be able to get the telescope built as planned.

Legal costs to university from Mauna Kea protests squeezing education budgets

Mounting legal costs forced on the University of Hawaii to fight the TNT protests has now begun taking funds from education programs.

The budget line that is paying the legal costs is normally used to pay for unexpected maintenance and education costs. Now it is instead paying lawyers.

Hawaii arranges to schedule next TMT protest

The Hawaiian government, after allowing the protesters of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) to live for months on Mauna Kea in defiance of an emergency order closing the mountain, has agreed to give the protesters advance warning when TMT plans to restart construction so they can get there to block it.

The short article spins things to favor the protest and to hide the fact that the state is acting as their supporter. Similar media spin here. Because of this, the protesters have decided there is no need for them to continue their 24 hour vigil on the mountain. They left without removing their structures, and the state has said it will likely not remove them. How convenient!

As I’ve said earlier, it is time that the TMT seriously consider other sites for this telescope. Hawaii doesn’t want them.

Road crews remove stone altar built by TMT protesters on Mauna Kea

According to state officials, a crew needing access to materials for grading the roads on Mauna Kea removed last week one of three stone altars built by the protesters to the Thirty Meter Telescope.

The altar known as an ahu (AH’-hoo) was built June 24, the day hundreds of protesters prevented construction crews from reaching the telescope site on Mauna Kea (mow-NAH’ kay-AH’). “About a hundred people or so contributed to this ahu I would guess,” Lakea Trask, one of the protester leaders, said Tuesday in describing how stones were passed person-to-person to erect the 4-foot-high structure at an elevation of 11,000 feet. “Basically, it’s a religious altar or shrine. It’s not just a stack of rocks. It’s the focus of the energies of our pule — our prayers — our spiritual connection to the land,” Trask said. “It’s like a hate crime to us.”

The group of people who have been camping regularly on the mountain to prevent crews from returning hadn’t checked on the ahu for a while, Trask said. Every second Sunday or so, some of them visit the altar to give offerings, usually water or bundles of leaves from the Hawaiian ti plant, he said. On Sunday, “when they went up there to check on it, there was no ahu,” Trask said. “And in its place there was a bulldozer.”

Forgive me if I express extreme skepticism about the religious nature of these stone structures. If they are so significant, why were none built before the protests? And why, before the protests, did we hear so little of people going up to the top of Mauna Kea to pray? When I was there in 2003, I saw zero evidence of religious pilgrims or sites. The mountaintop was then open to visitation by all, and the only people I saw visiting it were astronomers, telescope engineers, road crews, amateur astronomers, and tourists.

These structures are purely political, built to put a wedge between the mountain and the astronomers. I am certain that the instant these protesters get their way, shutting down TMT and possibly gaining some financial reward from the state, these so-called Sunday prayer visits will stop.

Police arrest 8 protesters camping illegally on Mauna Kea

Last night police arrested 8 protesters who were camping illegally on Mauna Kea in opposition to the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope.

I have posted below the fold a video of the arrests. To me, the significant take-away from this video is the scale and permanence of the tent structures that these people have built opposite the Mauna Kea visitors center. The emergency order forbidding camping had gone into effect on July 14. Yet, the impressive buildings they have made of wood and poles have clearly been allowed to stand. This suggests that the state is really not serious about enforcing the law and stopping the protesters from camping on the mountain.

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