Roads leading to the summit of Haleakalā are once again open to the public today. Park officials say the construction convoy delivering equipment for the new Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope was successful. This follows the latest round of protests against the solar telescope under construction. HPR’s Kuʻuwehi Hiraishi reports.
Five years into the construction of the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope on Maui, and the protests continue from those calling themselves protectors of the mountain.
An early-morning attempt by protestors to block the delivery of telescope equipment to Haleakalā resulted in six arrests, including one man who was hospitalized.
The protest was organized by a group called Kākoʻo Haleakalā, which stands in opposition to the further desecration of sacred space.
An issue very familiar to Kahoʻokahi Kanuha. Kanuha continues to organize opposition to the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea.
"Unnecessary development on our sacred mountains. That’s the issue on Mauna Kea and that’s the issue on Haleakalā," says Kanuha.
The Haleakalā protests come exactly one week after a former Circuit Court judge recommended the TMT project proceed.
"For the Maui issue, the telescope is far along in its completion. Yet, people continue to resist," says Kanuha, "That although it may seem like a done deal, and although it may seem like there’s nothing you can do about it. People still laid down in front of trucks, still put themselves on the line."
HPR was unable to confirm with telescope officials whether future transports of construction equipment would be required to complete construction of the telescope.
According to a statement issued on the telescope’s website, “Work will progress mostly inside the completed telescope building for an on-schedule completion of the project by early 2020.”
If future transports of telescope construction equipment do occur, protests will likely continue.
"What other choice do we have?" says Kanuha, "What other choice do we have? What do we have to lose?"