- Associated Press - Thursday, April 9, 2015

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) - Gov. David Ige said he’s searching for a way for science and sacred sites to coexist at Mauna Kea.

The governor explained he’s using a weeklong “timeout” on the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope at the mountain summit to carefully listen to all sides, the West Hawaii Today newspaper (https://bit.ly/1CZO2cJ ) in Kailua-Kona reported.

“You can rest assured that all previous agreements and decisions will be honored,” he said in response to questions at a Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Wednesday.

Earlier this week, the governor announced a weeklong moratorium on telescope construction in the wake of more than a dozen arrests of protesters who prevented construction vehicles from reaching the summit.

Mauna Kea’s summit offers astronomers some of the world’s best conditions for observing the sky. But many Native Hawaiians say telescopes desecrate a sacred place.

Ige said he has “done a lot of listening to get a 360-degree view of the project,” and will continue to listen during the next few days.

“It’s really about listening and finding a way for discovery and sacred sites to coexist on a very important asset,” Ige said.

The $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope would be among the world’s largest. Scientists hope to use it to see 13 billion light years away and get a glimpse of the early years of the universe.

The observatory aims to be operational by 2024, the same year a 39-meter telescope is expected to be completed in Chile.


Information from: West Hawaii Today, https://www.westhawaiitoday.com

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