Hawaii’s Supreme Court is set to review, for the second time, the construction permit for the Thirty Meter Telescope.
Much of the arguments centered around whether it was a conflict of interest for a hearings officer who made a key recommendation in favor of the project to be a member of a Hawaii astronomy center. The state allowed retired judge Riki May Amano to preside over contested-case hearings for the contentious project despite complaints from telescope opponents who decried her paid membership to the Imiloa Astronomy Center.
The Big Island center is connected to the University of Hawaii, which is the permit applicant.
Opponents appealed to the Supreme Court after Amano recommended granting the permit and the state land board approved it. “She should have never presided over the case,” Richard Wurdeman, an attorney representing telescope opponents, told the justices. He noted the center included exhibits about the project planned for the Big Island’s Mauna Kea, Hawaii’s tallest mountain.
The details don’t really matter. Nor will the decision. The protesters will simply find another petty issue if they lose, and will appeal again. Their goal, apparently supported covertly by Hawaii’s Democratic government, is to delay, delay, and delay, until the consortium building TMT is forced to abandon Hawaii.
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