The University of Hawaii Board of Regents on Monday approved a plan to build the world's largest telescope at Mauna Kea's summit.
The 14 board members voted unanimously Monday in favor of the Thirty Meter Telescope project led by a consortium of Canadian and California universities.
The decision clears the way for telescope managers to seek a permit from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources to build the facility on conservation land.
Some Native Hawaiians have opposed the telescope on the grounds that it would defile the Mauna Kea's sacred summit. Environmentalists say the telescope would harm the rare wekiu bug.
The university must vote on the project because it owns the lease for the land on which the telescope would be built.
"University of Hawaii scientists will be full participants in all aspects of this TMT journey, while the capital investment and jobs created by the project will boost the state?s economy and provide for local educational and workforce development programs. I know that the university?s important responsibility of ensuring good stewardship of this special site for future generations has been of utmost priority throughout the process, and it will continue to be our focus as we work closely with the community and all stakeholders involved with the management of Mauna Kea," UH President MRC Greenwood said.
TMT's board of directors in July 2009 chose Mauna Kea as the location to build the world's most advanced mirror telescope.
The Thirty Meter Telescope project is a partnership of the University of California, California Institute of Technology and Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy.
TMT hopes to have the telescope ready to go in 2017.