State Sen. Kai Kahele’s recent actions haven’t helped the ongoing Thirty Meter Telescope impasse on Maunakea.
First, he posts on social media that the TMT’s conservation district use permit expires on Sept. 26. This revelation has given the protesters additional reason to stonewall this project until then, which doesn’t help law enforcement — or the protesters, for that matter.
Sen. Kahele has also advocated for a moratorium, or “cooling off period,” of 60 days on the start of construction. This moratorium would expire uncomfortably close to the two-year end of the CDUP-mandated start of construction.
It shouldn’t be surprising though, as he is strongly opposed to astronomy on Maunakea. He’d rather let the Canary Islands get this telescope, which will slowly kill astronomy on Maunakea.
The backers of the Thirty Meter Telescope have been more than patient during the past 10 years. They’ve successful fended off all legal challenges thus far. The courts have ultimately given their authorization that construction can begin, but instead we have a repeat of the 2015 protests all over again.
In addition, we have a state senator on a mission to destroy astronomy as we know it on Maunakea.
Sen. Kahele, Hawaii needs good, high-paying, jobs. The telescopes on Maunakea provide those jobs, and a much-needed economic boost to the state totaling in the millions of dollars.
Hawaii desperately needs that economic balance, especially when we we’re so dependent on tourism, construction and military. If the backers of the TMT decide to relocate to the Canary Islands because of these ongoing protests, it will be devastating blow to astronomy on Maunakea, and to the state of Hawaii.
Gov. David Ige’s emergency proclamation for Maunakea Wednesday evening was unnecessary and a way-over-the-top reaction to the actual situation up at the mauna.
I was up at the mauna — along with hundreds of peaceful protectors — from Sunday morning until Wednesday, and I did not see a single instance of protector-instigated violence. Instead, the mauna protectors and supporters were repeatedly reminded about — and consistently maintained — Kapu Aloha, acting with love and kindness.
For Gov. Ige to falsely claim that the proclamation was needed for public safety, he must have been misinformed or misled. Indeed, by blaming the “protectors” for a potential threat to public safety, he is promoting the same kind of fear-mongering that our White House occupier is spreading about immigrants being a threat to public safety.
As a former supporter of Gov. Ige, I urge that objective and responsible legislators and concerned citizens immediately flood his office with rebukes and demand that he rescind the unnecessary and alarming proclamation ASAP.
Danny H.C. Li