Opponents vow to appeal the ruling.
On Wednesday, Hilo Circuit Court Judge Greg Nakamura ruled in favor of the Thirty Meter Telescope, which is to be built at the summit of Mauna Kea on Hawaii Island. According to "Hawaii Tribune-Herald" reporter Megan Moseley, opponents of the proposed telescope plan to appeal the ruling. Kealoha Pisciotti, the president of the Native Hawaiian group " Mauna Kea Anaina Hu, told reporter Mosely that"we’re disappointed. We intend to appeal. It’s hard to accept that the judge could agree with the university that a project like TMT wouldn’t have adverse and significant impact when the university admits it would. We’re ready (to) go to the higher courts."
Editorial opinion: While I understand the emotional appeal made by the petitioners and their concern to preserve the "sacredness" of the summit, the real issue isn’t about Hawaiian culture or religion. It’s all about the money. The building of this state-of-the-art instrument will return millions of dollars to the state and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. The telescope will keep Hawaii in the forefront of astronomy and related sciences. The telescope could direct more investment in Hawaii, which needs to diversify its economy. If the telescope can’t be built on Mauna Kea, then some other nation, such as Chile, would do so and reap the scientific and economic benefits. Judge Nakamura seems convinced that the management plan for the Mauna Kea summit will provide protection for native flora and fauna in the area. The unfortunate truth about this controversy is that native cultures have fared poorly when it comes to development and "progress." Just look what the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is doing to the Kaka’ako area of Honolulu. OHA plans to build condominium units to generate some profit from the ceded lands under its care. This was part of a $200 million dollar deal with the state to return ceded lands to OHA for management. Theoretically, profits from ceded lands managed by OHA and rental agreements with the telescope operators atop Mauna Kea would be used to benefit Native Hawaiians. Not everyone will be happy with the final results. Compromise is the name of the game here. As distasteful as this agreement may be to some people, this is the way forward. Living in the past is no solution. The past is gone. It’s time to live in the present and, hopefully, the mistakes and the injustices suffered in the past won’t revisit our children. Aloha, Russ.