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Mon Aug 5, 2019, 10:46 PM

Still blocked from Hawaii peak, telescope seeks Spain permit

Joseph Wilson and Caleb Jones, Associated Press
Updated 8:07 pm CDT, Monday, August 5, 2019

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — The group behind a $1.4 billion telescope planned for Hawaii is applying for a permit to build in Spain as ongoing protests and a human blockade prevent them from starting construction on Mauna Kea, Hawaii's highest peak that some people consider sacred.

The plan to start construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the Big Island has been thwarted for more than three weeks by a group of Native Hawaiian activists who say the construction will further desecrate a mountain that already has more than a dozen observatories.

Thirty Meter Telescope Executive Director Ed Stone said in a statement Monday that the group still wants to break ground on Mauna Kea, but they need to have a backup plan.

"We continue to follow the process to allow for TMT to be constructed at the 'plan B' site in (Spain) should it not be possible to build in Hawaii," Stone said. "Mauna Kea remains the preferred site."

More:
https://www.chron.com/news/science/article/Giant-telescope-consortium-to-seek-Spain-building-14281734.php

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5 Aug 2019 in Politics & Policy
Thirty Meter Telescope faces continued opposition in Hawaii
At stake in the standoff are the progress of astronomy in Hawaii, land conservation, and the practice of traditional culture.

Toni Feder

Trucks carrying construction materials for the $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) rolled toward the summit of Mauna Kea on 17 July. But they stopped about 15–20 kilometers short of the turnoff that leads up the mountain; several hundred Native Hawaiians and other opponents of the project blocked the junction.

After years of protests, negotiations, and legal battles, the TMT has the necessary permits to go forward on Mauna Kea. Still, no one was surprised by the protesters, who oppose further building on a mountain that they consider sacred for its ties to their creation traditions and to water deities. The planned site of the TMT would decimate the “ring of shrines,” where Native Hawaiians practice equinox and solstice rituals, says Kealoha Pisciotta, who for many years worked as a technician on Mauna Kea telescopes and now is a cultural practitioner. She says she was dismayed in late July when the TMT board turned down an invitation to meet with her and other leaders of the movement to protect the mountain.

The standoff continues. “At some level, it’s a test of wills,” says Doug Simons, director of the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope and a member of the Mauna Kea management board. Astronomers in Hawaii say that the TMT has become a symbol of broader issues of concern to the local indigenous community; some also note that there are Native Hawaiians who support the TMT. (See Physics Today, July 2016, page 31.)

In the days that followed, the quiet blockade continued. The governor of Hawaii declared a state of emergency, opening the door to police and military involvement, and 38 Hawaiian elders were arrested. Astronomy graduate students circulated a letter questioning “the methods by which we are getting the telescope on the mountain” and calling on the astronomy community “to recognize the broader historical context of this conflict, and to denounce the criminalization of the protectors on Maunakea.” Quoting Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, an assistant professor of physics at the University of New Hampshire, the letter asks astronomers to “think of the lasting consequences for us of being a community that partners with the military and the police on indigenous land and then publicly brands itself as being about wonder and the majestic.” As of this writing, 947 people, mostly young astronomers from across the US, have signed the letter.

“It’s not culture against astronomy,” says Lanakila Mangauil, who grew up on the slopes of Mauna Kea and is another leader of the diffuse opposition movement. “What we oppose is the massive earth-moving that the TMT requires,” he says. “It would be by far the largest building on the island, and it would disrupt a unique ecosystem that lives in the pahoehoe lava flow.”

More:
https://physicstoday.scitation.org/do/10.1063/PT.6.2.20190805a/full/

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Reply Still blocked from Hawaii peak, telescope seeks Spain permit (Original post)
Judi Lynn Aug 5 OP
Me. Aug 5 #1
Judi Lynn Aug 6 #2
Ghost Dog Aug 6 #3
eppur_se_muova Aug 6 #4
DavidDvorkin Aug 6 #5

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Aug 5, 2019, 10:55 PM

1. Respect

“think of the lasting consequences for us of being a community that partners with the military and the police on indigenous land and then publicly brands itself as being about wonder and the majestic.”

And seemingly, this is not the only location where it can be built.

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Response to Me. (Reply #1)

Tue Aug 6, 2019, 04:37 AM

2. Absolutely! n/t

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Aug 6, 2019, 07:22 AM

3. Yes. There will be no problem getting official permits to build here

in the Canary Islands, on La Palma. They're working on the environmental impact statement now, apparently.

But local environmentalist organisations say they will oppose it.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Aug 6, 2019, 11:13 AM

4. There are no deities. There is no "sacred" land.

Pleading eminent domain by tradition is one thing, but using religion as an excuse to play dog-in-the-manger is not something for which the modern world should allow room.

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Reply #4)

Tue Aug 6, 2019, 02:35 PM

5. Agreed.

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