News came today out of Hawaii that the long-stalled Thirty Meter Telescope project still may have a chance to be built atop the largest mountain on the Big Island. More than a year after the process began, the contested case hearing process concluded with a ruling from retired judge Riki May Amano that recommends the project be granted a building permit to construct the massive observatory on Mauna Kea.
However, this is one step in a much longer process–the permit must be approved by Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources. Should it be approved there, it would then still be subject to appeal from opponents of the telescope who say building at the top of the mountain would desecrate it.
The international body behind the TMT has set a deadline for April 2018 to have all legal issues resolved in order to start construction, or they will move forward with an alternate site they have secured in the Canary Islands.
We covered the controversy over the Thirty Meter Telescope in two pieces for the PBS NewsHour last year: