Thirty Meter Telescope faces hurdles in Canary Islands
As protests continue after more than two months on Mauna Kea, opponents of the Thirty Meter Telescope are quick to point out the backup site in the Canary Islands as an alternative.
While TMT leaders continue to reaffirm they're committed to Mauna Kea as their first choice because of its optimal location, they say they also want to make sure the Canary Islands site gets the approval it needs.
But recently, a Spanish environmental group, 'Ecologistas en Accion' or 'Ecologists in Action' filed a lawsuit, claiming the the environmental impact study was flawed and incomplete. The lawsuit stalled the permit process in Spain from moving forward.
Now, though, the process looks to be back on track. Within the past week, Spanish media has reported that after redoing the environmental study, the El Servicio de Medio Ambiente del Cabildo Insular de La Palma, the environment agency in the Canaries, called the proposed site a "viable location."
A signed letter from all of Spain's political parties in Congress also expressed approval for the site to get the green light.
Meanwhile, TMT says they've spent $450 million worldwide, including California, India, Japan, and Canada to continue construction of the telescope's parts.
As of now, they say Hawaii remains their plan to move forward on the project.