Mayor Kim Trying To Find Way Out Of TMT Impasse With More Talk

Jul 29, 2019

The man tasked with trying to find a way out of an impasse over the construction of a giant telescope in Hawaii says he met with Native Hawaiian leaders Friday. But the only issue they reached a consensus on was to meet again.

Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim said Monday he met in Hilo with community leaders, including many from Oahu.

He says the group didn't include protesters currently blocking a road to Mauna Kea's summit, where an international consortium has a state permit to build a telescope. Kim says he met with protest leaders earlier when he visited the spot where they are blocking the road.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige last week asked Kim to take the lead on finding common ground with protesters. The protest is on its 15th day.

Kim rejected the idea of using force to move the protesters who have grown to about 1,000, and larger on the weekends.

"All of us should have only one mission -- to resolve this in a good way," said Kim.

Kim also said signal lights will be installed at the intersection of Daniel K. Inouye Highway and Mauna Kea Access Road, the site of the protest. 

Crews have already placed barriers along the highway near the intersection for safety reasons. Officials also continue to urge drivers to slow down as people are crossing the roadway to reach a camp on the other side.

Kim also said he has been in touch with the state Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement to plan for an approaching tropical storm that is expected to turn into a hurricane Tuesday. He said if the storm presents a danger to protesters, they may need to leave.

HPR contributed to this report.