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Governor Ige’s Statement on Approval of TMT Permit

The Board’s decision today is the latest milestone in what has been a complex journey. I believe Hawai‘i can host a new telescope in the right way, with respect for the values, traditions and culture of the first Hawaiians, and that our island state can be Earth’s eyes into the universe to prepare for a brighter future.
— Governor David Ige

Governors Statement on TMT Construction Postponement

Today, the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) leadership informed me that construction will continue to be postponed. Any further announcements about the construction schedule will come from TMT.

Top View of TMT Complex

Top View of TMT Complex

My understanding is that TMT followed an almost 7 year planning and permitting process, which included public hearings and community input. Following this process, project permits were issued. The TMT team is legally entitled to use its discretion to proceed with construction.

I understand that not everyone will agree with this and recognize and respect their right to appeal through the court system.

We have used this time to listen and learn about Maunakea from various stakeholders. I learned about other issues that need our attention to create and implement a better plan for the stewardship of Maunakea. This may include:

  • Decommissioning and removing older telescopes and facilities to restore the summit
  • Reducing the level of activity on the summit
  • Integrating culture and science

My administration will be working with the University of Hawai‘i, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and the community to actively pursue these outcomes.

Tribune Herald on the TMT Project… HUH? Where are the Locals?

I was trying to figure out how the TMT project was providing a boost in our economy when not many folks right now are even from Hawaii that are working on this project and construction has not officially began.

I fired off the following question to Sandra Dawson the “Task Leader for the TMT Site Master planning”:

I read in the newspaper the other day that the TMT has helped employment numbers on this island, but at no time have I seen an announcement listing job opportunities.

I do see quite a few people employed: http://www.tmt.org/about-tmt/people

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like many local folks have been hired yet.

When will local folks have an opportunity at applying for positions with TMT.

I got the following response from Ms. Dawson regarding the newspaper article:

The newspaper should have said “will help employment numbers”.  The only hiring we have done so far is a few small contracts with local companies for surveys, and several contracts for consulting.  I am still the only
TMT employee in Hawaii.
Current TMT employees are are specialized telescope designers and scientists, and are in California and Canada.  If there are local folks who qualify for these specialized positions they will be considered.  I see every applicant for jobs from Hawaii, and there have been very few so far.

We hope to begin construction by the end of 2011.  When we do that, we will likely beef up our office staff here with local people, as well as hiring local construction workers.