Hawaii’s Supreme Court temporarily stops TMT

Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right or below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

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).



  • Phill O

    You are right Bob. The key will be how to transfer funds to this group of professional protesters. At times like this, I begin to admire Putin as a leader. The rest of the world’s leader seem to act like pussies!

  • Nick P

    I think this is a Constitutional issue.

    The argument is essentially a Religious one. The Mountain is sacred to the indigenous people but the US Constitution prohibits the Government from respecting any Religion. So this argument must be thrown out. It certainly would be if a Christian were making it.

    I hope someone at TMT drives this point.

  • Phill O

    You are probably quite right Nick P.

  • Edward

    Nick P. wrote: “The Mountain is sacred to the indigenous people but the US Constitution prohibits the Government from respecting any Religion.”

    But the Constitution also prohibits the Government from violating religion, too.

    Interestingly, it was only recently that the mountain became so sacred that telescopes were a violation of its sacredness. Several telescopes over the past decades were constructed and operated. Only now are they protesting, because only now have they decided that the mountain is too sacred, although there is little evidence that the mountain is now or has been in the past in this way.

    The article says: “For now, they’re keeping an eye on cultural practitioners who duck under ‘No Trespassing’ signs to get to the ‘ahu or altars that were built on the site — and who maintain the mountain is a sacred place that needs to be protected.”

    The article fails to tell us how many months ago the ‘ahu were built on the site, perhaps to imply that the ‘ahu prove that the site has been “sacred” for longer than these past few months of controversy.

  • hondo

    It’s not about religion – don’t fall for it or give them credit. Its all about politics – left/right whatever.

  • Edward


    That was my point. I didn’t make it as well as you did.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *