- Associated Press - Saturday, June 27, 2015

WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) - Lines of chanting protesters stood in the street Wednesday night to stop the transport of construction materials for a telescope atop Haleakala.

A convoy of equipment for the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope was scheduled to leave the Central Maui Baseyard in Puuene around 10 p.m. Wednesday, but was postponed while 200 protesters held an overnight candlelight vigil, the Maui News reported (https://bit.ly/1LNVWsR ).

“From the beginning of the evening’s vigil and throughout the course of the night, a steady stream of people added their voices to the chorus of those already present, standing strong for Haleakala while we await the Supreme Court decision,” said vigil organizer Trinette Furtado in a news release.

Citizens group Kilakila O Haleakala fought the $300 million project in court in 2012, arguing that the state Board of Land and Natural Resources violated procedure by issuing the project a conservation district use permit. The Hawaii Supreme Court heard oral arguments in April but has not yet made a final ruling.

Furtado says the vigil ended around 3 a.m. Thursday with a final Pule and word of thanks.

Construction crews had planned to transport 18-foot-wide loads to the Inouye telescope at 2 to 5 miles per hour. The convoy would have reached the site around 2 p.m. Thursday and was reported to include three semi tractor-trailers and support vehicles.

Officials said organizers for the Inouye telescope consulted with local authorities, Native Hawaiians and other stakeholders to ensure the project respected their views and adjusted plans as appropriate.

“Like those who protest our facility, we too respect and value our planet, the broader universe, and our shared origins,” said a statement from the National Solar Observatory, which is involved in the Maui telescope project. “It is our hope that we can work together, respectful of one another’s differences, and mutually revere these gifts from nature.”

Just hours before the Haleakala protest, officials postponed construction on the $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea. Several hundred protesters had blocked construction crews there from accessing the summit and 12 people were arrested Wednesday.


Information from: The Maui News, https://www.mauinews.com

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