Supporters of the Thirty Meter Telescope project held a sign-waving rally in Hilo, Hawaii yesterday, May 30, which was the deadline for parties in the contested case hearing to submit their Findings of Fact.
The event appears to have been a fun-filled success with lots of Hawaii locals, including native Hawaiians, joining to show their support for the project. Representatives from the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy also attended the rally.
According to the Hawaii Tribune-Herald – who actually gave the rally front-page coverage in the Wednesday paper – DLNR senior communications manager Dan Dennison said in an email that four written arguments had been filed as of early Tuesday afternoon, with three available for online viewing at press time. The filings were from the Temple of Lono, Deborah J. Ward (one of the original six parties in the first contested case, which was held in 2011) and Dwight Vicente. HTH noted that “the current case has 25 parties, but not all have participated in testimony to the same extent” and that “The written arguments submitted so far ranged in length from 93 pages to four pages.”
Comments on the Herald’s corresponding website post included sentiments like
The tallest mountain in the world can be shared, especially for something as noble intent as an astronomical telescope to expand human knowledge of the universe. It’s not called the Big Isand for nothing. That is true aloha.
In addition to the contribution to the furtherance of science the TMT will make, what has recently occurred to me is the kind of people the TMT will draw to the island. I have known two scientists who have come here specifically because of the existing telescopes. One is a brilliant woman from Germany who lives in the neighborhood, and one was a brilliant guy from Minnesota, who visited a neighbor (his aunt and uncle) for the opportunity to observe at one of the telescopes. Both are fine people who are a pleasure to have on the island. Any area would be lucky to have them, and it certainly can’t hurt us to raise the average on-island IQ by a few points with all of these scientists sharing our space (pun intended).
Thayne Currie, an astronomer working on Mauna Kea, added:
Yesterday was the filing deadline for proposed Findings of Fact/Conclusions of Law. The parties will have two weeks to respond to others’ findings and then the judge will make a ruling some time after that. The process is moving along.
At the same time as the rally in Hilo, Hawaii, an underwhelming protest took place at Caltech in Pasadena, California (because of their involvement with the TMT project), that turned out the same small amount of people (somewhere between 6 – 10) as the previous one did about a month ago.
The previous couple of weeks has seen a few other important milestones for the case and Hawaii astronomy community.
- Judge Amano submits MINUTE ORDER NO. 56: Order Denying Motions for Extension of Time for Filing of Motions, Witness and Exhibit Lists and Direct Testimonies and Pre-Hearing Statement
- Protesters demanded online access to transcripts despite them being free at public Hawaii libraries
- University of Wyoming’s associate professor of Department of Physics and Astronomy Michael Pierce was appointed to Thirty Meter Telescope science team
- W. M. Keck Observatory Data Leads To First Of Its Kind Test of Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity
- The Office of Maunakea Managerment received an award for outstanding preservation efforts of Maunakea and its science reserve
- Maunakea Observatories formalize STEM education partnership with state of Hawaii
It’s worth noting that the most recent poll conducted by Tulchin Research actually indicated an uptick in support for TMT compared to the last one, with more Hawaii residents and native Hawaiians being moved to raise their voices to combat the constant stream of lies and misleading statements put forth by the protesters.
There is no specified timeframe set for Judge Amano to make her ruling on the case, but many are expecting a mid-late summer or early fall decision.
More: Hawaii Tribune-Herald