Letter: Another Take on the TMT

The debate over the Thirty Meter Telescope has become extremely divisive for our community. I’ve lost several long time friends because I support this telescope project. This has spread to the community at large. These ongoing protests segued from protecting Mauna Kea to a debate over the restoration of the Hawaiian Kingdom and questioning the legitimacy of the State of Hawaii. The lack of enforcement by Hawaii County and the State of Hawaii isn’t helping matters. Governor Ige’s administration is the prime culprit for the latter. His administration is afraid taking on the protesters head on and waiting for the courts to do the dirty work for them it seems like. The Hawaii Supreme Court is slated to hear oral arguments on August 27th, 2015 for one of these lawsuits. It’s questioning the legality of the Thirty Meter Telescope’s conservation district use permit.. In addition, the Hawaii Supreme Court has a pending decision involving the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope, which may have legal ramifications for the Thirty Meter Telescope. The problem with this course of action is two-fold. The TMT has legally binding permits to start construction now. The lack of enforcement on the part of the State of Hawaii shows they’re catering to the whims of the protesters. This has given Hawaii huge black eye on the world stage. Why would anyone want to invest in Hawaii? The State of Hawaii has shown its content with siting on their hands instead of enforcing the law. This doesn’t bode well for Hawaii’s future. We need to diversify our economy away from unsustainable industries, such as tourism, real estate/construction, and the military. I strongly believe we all need to take a long hard look at what Hawaii’s future should look like. The latter is being completely ignored by the anti-TMT protesters. They’re hell-bent on stopping this telescope project, but haven’t stated any economic alternatives to improve the future of Hawaii. Aaron Stene Kailua-Kona

11 replies
  1. Joy Cash
    Joy Cash says:

    “IF” these leases are legal, “IF” there were a signed treaty w/ Hawaiian Sovereign government, “IF” we were to abide by international law, “IF” military/weapon poisoning expansion wasn’t present, “IF” US government hadn’t clearly NOT served Hawaiian’s basic needs for nearly 200 yrs, “IF” cultural & traditional religious practices had been respected/protected, then just maybe we wouldn’t find ourselves enmeshed in our current situation. Expansion of TMT has very little to do w/ future “sustainability” for our state or county. Has much more to do w/ unbridled economic expansion on Hawaiian lands held sacred by many.

  2. Aaron Stene
    Aaron Stene says:

    “I strongly believe we all need to take a long hard look at what Hawaii’s future should look like. The latter is being completely ignored by the anti-TMT protesters. They’re hell-bent on stopping this telescope project, but haven’t stated any economic alternatives to improve the future of Hawaii.”

    This is the point that everyone seems to ignore. What kind of future do you want for Hawaii. If you don’t support astronomy, then what? Tourism, construction/real estate, and the military are not sustainable and viable options for Hawaii’s future.

  3. Sara Steiner
    Sara Steiner says:

    Mauna Kea is symbolic of the last bit of land not taken from the Hawaiians, the rest is gone for them, from the ocean to the mountains. They have huge OHA reservation in Kalapana and Maku’u, but no one can afford to build, too many restrictions.

    I love telescopes and outer-space research, but I stand with all indigenous peoples everywhere trying to reclaim or save their last bit of country. We can’t pave or frack the entire earth… and we shouldn’t just steal land because we are stronger.

  4. Cheryl King
    Cheryl King says:

    Thank you for being brave enough to speak up Alan.
    As for me, “The telescopes on Mauna Kea are truly a monument to human achievement and open a door to knowledge and wisdom about the universe and our place in it. To destroy them or limit their potential to make new discoveries in the name of ideology or religion would be a step back for mankind.”

  5. Handyman
    Handyman says:

    Aloha Mr. Stene,

    It seems to me that you and all those who are like minded, are just as “hell bent” on building this TMT, no matter what culture you may possibly be destroying in the process. And for what purpose,…..knowledge? Does mankind really need a telescope to see the creation that lies beyond our reach and most of our understanding, while devastating an entire culture at its feet? How can this possibly validate or justify a means to an end?

    I strongly believe that the Pro TMT communities are more concerned with their financial investment than the knowledge that’s to be gained from this endeavor. Oh I’m sure there are those among yourselves that are truly sincere in holding the survival and betterment of mankind at the utmost priority. But at the cost of disrespecting the present native culture? I think our species have not yet earned the privilege to know what is beyond our planet. Particularly because we have yet to learn to love and live among ourselves before we can hope to populate elsewhere in the universe.

    For the sake of other life forms in the universe,…..I’m glad we’re stuck here.


  6. Aaron Stene
    Aaron Stene says:


    I guess you’ve been living under a rock for the last seven years. The TMT FEIS was accepted in 2010 and is a binding document since no one contested its integrity. In addition, the CDUP was granted after a year long contested case hearing process. The hearing officer upheld the granting of the permit.


  7. Puna Ohana
    Puna Ohana says:

    Science is so awesome. What was the greatest scientific achievement of the last century, according to scientists themselves? The A-Bomb and nuclear energy. Yea Fuku you too.
    NOT all science is good for humankine. Ju$t $ome, not all.

  8. Puna Ohana
    Puna Ohana says:

    There are people who come to Hawaii to get away from all the crap on the mainland, crime, pollution, disasters, riots, fracking, urban sprawl, gambling, SUBURBIA! etc.
    And there are those who have come to exploit.
    Nothing new, as we just passed the 117th Anniversary of Hawaii being STOLEN for American commercial interests.
    Same old colonization story/lies. It’s what America is best at, stealing land and resources. Now the just bomb the shit out of a place and take the resources.

    Hawaii has had to deal with this greedy exploitation for over a century, but nothing like since the occupation after the war. The 70’s was the worst with the hotel explosion.
    I remember it well. When they blew up the Biltmore to build the Hyatt towers, it fell just like Building 7 in NYC. JUST THE SAME, and no plane.
    Good thing there are people who don’t follow and believe all the BS propagated by, “In the name of Science”, like “in the name of god”, or the name of “security.” Bullshit!


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