Lā 237: Hawaii Supreme Court issues order temporarily preventing TMT construction

Posted: Nov 17, 2015 4:38 PM HST Updated: Nov 17, 2015 5:20 PM HST By Daryl Huff

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
The Hawaii Supreme Court has issued an order that will temporarily prevent construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea.

The court said, in an order issued Tuesday afternoon, that "the permits and ruling that allow construction ... are stayed pending the court's final decision on the appeal."

The court was responding to a plea from telescope opponents who argued that the telescope company and the state were disrespecting the Hawaii Supreme Court, which heard arguments on their lawsuit only three months ago but has not yet ruled on the case.

The court issued a "stay" of the permits and state Land Board decision that allow construction to begin.

A spokeman for the TMT said he had not yet heard from attorneys for the project. The order expires in about two weeks -- on December 2 -- or unless the Supreme Court issues another order.

One opponent of the project, Kealoha Pisciotta, said she was glad that the court has stepped in to avoid unnecessary conflict.

The order comes the day before Thirty Meter Telescope construction crews were scheduled to return to Mauna Kea to work on equipment that has sat idle for the last seven months, since crews were blocked from reaching the construction site by more than 750 protesters.

Opponents of the project say it desecrates a sacred Native Hawaiian place.