Ige Announces Week-Long Construction Halt on Mauna Kea

Apr 7, 2015

Credit Molly Solomon

Hawai‘i Governor David Ige has announced a week-long "time out" for construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea. In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Governor Ige says he came to this decision after speaking with major stakeholders in the project.

Ige says he plans to use this time for discussion with protestors, who have had a presence on the mountain for the past two weeks. Astronomers call Mauna Kea’s summit one of the world’s best places to see the stars. While environmentalists and native Hawaiians say the sacred ground is in need of protection.

Following Governor Ige's announcement, Kamahana Kealoha from the Sacred Mauna Kea Hui released the following statement:

"Although the Sacred Mauna Kea Hui appreciates a welcome reprieve from the desecration of our sacred mountain summit and endangerment of our fresh water aquifer and endangered species environment, we know that these are still in danger unless a permanent moratorium is obtained.
 
This reprieve will also give the multi-billion dollar international TMT corporation, which has been allowed to circumvent the law, time to begin its process of identifying a new location outside of Hawaii for their TMT project.
 
We also hope this one-week moratorium will give the State of Hawaii, as well as the University of Hawaii and the Department of Land and Natural Resources the time needed to review the possible breaches of public trust the TMT project has caused. It will also give the DLNR time to review the possible abuses of the Conservation District Use Application process—a process that has permitted complete industrialization and desecration of a sacred conservation district and endangered species environment."

Last week, Hawaii County police arrested 31 people for trespassing and blocking constriction crews from reaching the site.