Does the Thirty Meter Telescope Pose Environmental Risks?

By Anita Hofschneider / April 27, 2015

Cory Lum/Civil Beat
“The audit found that the University of Hawaii had been haphazard in caring for Mauna Kea’s natural and cultural resources and prioritized development over the environment. For one thing, the university didn’t start gathering information about the Wekiu bug until after damage was done.
“The university focused primarily on the development of Mauna Kea and tied the benefits gained to its research program,” the audit said. “Controls were outlined in the management plans that were often late and weakly implemented. The university’s control over public access was weak and its efforts to protect natural resources were piecemeal.”

The concerns from Pisciotta and others in part reflect the repercussions of the university’s spotty record of managing the mountain throughout most of the last 47 years.
A 2007 report by the Keystone Group that analyzed the effects of choosing Mauna Kea as the site of the TMT said the project would be weighed down by “a sour history and heavy baggage.”
“Should TMT decide to pursue a Mauna Kea site, it will inherit the anger, fear, and great mistrust generated through previous telescope planning and siting failures and an accumulated disbelief that any additional projects, especially a physically imposing one like the TMT, can be done properly,” the report predicted.”


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