Hawaii land board grants permit to build telescope

2017-09-29 06:47
A file photo shows telescopes on the summit of Mauna Kea on Hawaii's Big Island. (AP)

A file photo shows telescopes on the summit of Mauna Kea on Hawaii's Big Island. (AP)

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Honolulu - Hawaii's land board has approved a construction permit for a giant telescope on a mountain that Native Hawaiians consider sacred.

The board  on Thursday issued its decision in what has become one of the most divisive issues in Hawaii. Supporters of the $1.4bn Thirty Meter Telescope say it will provide educational and economic opportunities, while opponents say it will desecrate the land.

A second round of hearings was necessary after the state Supreme Court invalidated an earlier permit issued by the board.

Protests disrupted a groundbreaking and Hawaiian blessing ceremony in 2014. Construction stopped in 2015 after 31 protesters were arrested for blocking the work.

A second attempt to restart construction a few months later ended with more arrests and crews retreating.

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