State Holding Hearings On Giant Telescope Project

Supporters Hope To Begin Construction In 2011

 UPDATED 2:27 AM HST Dec 01, 2010
HONOLULU -

The state plans to hold two public hearings this week on a proposal to build the world's largest telescope at Mauna Kea's summit.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources said Wednesday it will hold hearings in Hilo on Thursday and in Kailua-Kona on Friday.

Thirty Meter Telescope managers are seeking a permit from the department because they want to build the telescope on conservation land. They hope to begin construction late next year and finish by 2018.

Some Native Hawaiians oppose the telescope, saying it would defile Mauna Kea's sacred summit. Environmentalists say the telescope would harm the rare wekiu bug.

The telescope would advance science, provide jobs and help the economy, supporters said.

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents in June voted in favor of the Thirty Meter Telescope project led by a consortium of Canadian and California universities.

The Thirty Meter Telescope project, which is a partnership of the University of California, California Institute of Technology and Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy.

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