On October 30, 2018, the Hawaii Supreme Court issued a decision in support of the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (“TMT”) atop Maunakea – a telescope that would be the largest in the Northern Hemisphere.
The TMT project had been in limbo for years. In 2014, protestors broke up a groundbreaking ceremony and blockaded the mountain. In 2016, the high court rescinded the telescope’s permit on procedural grounds and ordered a new hearing. This ruling confirmed that the rehearing met procedural requirements and will allow the telescope, which has been 15 years in the making, to finally be built, with an estimated completion date in 2029.
Attorneys Lincoln S.T. Ashida, Newton J Chu, and Vaughn Cook, Directors at Torkildson, Katz, Hetherington, Harris & Knorek, represented the Native Hawaiian-led nonprofit, Perpetuating Unique Educational Opportunities (PUEO) in the case. PUEO supported the request for a permit arguing that culture and science can co-exist on Maunakea.
The new Thirty Meter telescope, so named for the diameter of its main light-collecting mirror, has the potential to transform astronomy in the 21st century. We are proud to represent PUEO on a pro bono basis and congratulate Directors Ashida, Chu and Cook and their client on their victory before the Hawaii Supreme Court.