Project Description

Say “no” to TMT, even if you support it

Whatever your personal feelings about the TMT may be, the fallout from the way the project is bulldozing ahead should alarm you.

The decisions attempting to greenlight the controversial telescope’s construction show very little foresight. The ripples that come in their wake will negatively impact the way we interact with the land and sea far into the future.

Back in October the media shared a Hawaiʻi Supreme Court ruling that allows the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) to grant the Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT) project a permit to build its 5-acre, 18-story project in the conservation district of Mauna Kea.

But what the media glossed over was a key argument used to justify the approval, an argument that dissenting Justice Michael Wilson called into question, warning that it would have huge ramifications for protecting important environmental and cultural sites.

Under heavy political pressure, the Supreme Court justices adopted the BLNR’s illogical and self-serving argument that the previous degradation of Mauna Kea by other telescope projects had created so much damage that there was no need to protect an as yet untouched northern plateau of Mauna Kea from harm that would be inflicted by the TMT.

The outcome is that “one of the most sacred resources of the Hawaiian culture loses its protection because it has previously undergone substantial adverse impact from prior development of telescopes,” or in other words, the ruling “violates norms of environmental law,” said dissenting Justice Michael Wilson.

If we follow the BLNR’s “logic,” there’s no reason to remove ordnance from Kahoʻolawe, Pōhakuloa or Mākua, since the military so thoroughly bombed them. There’s no need to clean up the Ala Wai. It’s far too polluted. And there’s no point in stopping plastics from entering the ocean. The Pacific Garbage Patch is already double the size of Texas.

Thus, even if you support the TMT, the justification being used to push the project forward sets a dangerous precedent and has an adverse effect on any place in Hawaiʻi that you hold dear.

Following this reasoning, it’s okay to allow harms such as these to occur on Mauna Kea, in a most significant conservation district protected by numerous laws:

  • Chemical waste and human waste can leak undetected from two 5,000 gallon storage tanks two stories under the TMT, adding to three previous instances of toxic mercury spills from existing telescopes.
  • Pollution can poison three primary aquifers that Hawaiʻi Island’s communities rely upon that are fed by water filtering through Mauna Kea.
  • An 18-story, 5-acre building can loom over a conservation district on an island where nothing is allowed to exceed the height of 7 stories.
  • Hawaiians can be prevented from practicing the most fundamental and meaningful aspects of their culture, which compels them to conserve sacred places–while the state uses their culture to drive its tourist economy.
  • Laws put in place to protect conservation districts can be ignored, if managers, like the University of Hawaiʻi in this case, have grossly mismanaged those places in the past (see past UH Mauna Kea management audits from 1998, 2005, 2014, and 2017).

Is that how we want to treat our most environmentally and culturally significant places in Hawaiʻi?

If you care about the integrity of Hawaiʻi’s most environmentally pristine places, if you care about following both the letter and spirit of our community’s laws, if you want Hawaiʻi to remain the Hawaiʻi that you have come to love, please join us in saying “no” to TMT. It’s not too late.


  • TMT Contested Case Petitioners
    • Hank Fergerstrom
    • Billy and Cindy Freitas
    • Tiffany Kakalia
    • Mehana Kihoi
    • Leinaʻala Sleightholm
  • HULI – Hawai’i Unity and Liberation Institute
    • Andre Perez
    • Camille Kalama
    • Kahoʻokahi Kanuha
    • Kaleikoa Kāʻeo
  • KAHEA – The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance
  • Kanaeokana – The Kula Hawaiʻi Network
  • Kuʻulei Akaka
  • Trevor Atkins
  • Kamanamaikalani Beamer, Ph.D.
    Associate Professor, Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies and William S Richardson School of Law, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM)
  • Cristina Bacchilega, Ph.D.
    English Department, UHM
  • Brandi K. Beaudet
  • Kalani Bright
  • Fred Keakaokalani Cachola
  • Kēhaunani Cachola-Abad, Ph.D.
  • Case-Flores ʻOhana
    • Pualani Case
    • Hawane Rios
    • Kapulei Flores
  • Robert Uluwehi Cazimero, Kumu Hula
    Hālau Nā Kamalei o Lililehua
  • Keola Kawai’ula’iliahi Chan
    ‘Aha Kāne Foundation for the Advancement of Native Hawaiian Males
  • Kū Ching
    Mauna Kea Hui
  • Monisha Das Gupta, Ph.D.
    Women Studies and Ethnic Studies Departments, UHM
  • Sandy Decker
  • Maulili WG Dickson
  • Chelsea Dickson
  • Kēhaulani Enos, Ed.D. and Kumu Hula
    Hālau ʻIlima Kū Kahakai
  • Kaimana Estrella
  • Cynthia Franklin, Ph.D.
    English Department, UHM
  • Konia Freitas, Ph.D.
    Director, Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies, UHM
  • Candace Fujikane, Ph.D.
    English Department, UHM
  • Noelani Goodyear–Ka‘ōpua, Ph.D.
    Political Science Department, UHM
  • Ryan Gonzalez
  • Vernadette Gonzalez, Ph.D.
    American Studies, UHM
  • Niuliʻi Heine, Kumu Hula
    Hālau Nā Pualei o Likolehua
  • Lahela Jarrett Holmwood
  • Hōkūlani Holt, Kumu Hula
    President, Kauahea Inc.
  • kuʻualoha hoʻomanawanui
    English Department, UHM
  • Chryssa K. Jones
  • Kū Kahakalau, Ph.D.
    CEO, Kū-A-Kanaka LLC
  • ʻIʻinimaikalani Kahakalau
    Senior Project Director, Kū-A-Kanaka LLC.
  • Dr. Pualani Kanahele, Kumu Hula
    Lālākea Foundation
  • Edith Kawai
  • Joseph Keaweʻaimoku Kaholokula, Ph.D.
    Professor and Chair, Department of Native Hawaiian Health, UHM
  • Lilikalā Kameʻeleihiwa, Ph.D.
    Professor Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies, UHM
  • Keliʻiahonui Kotubetey
    Paepae o He‘eia
  • Kalehua Krug, Ph.D.
  • Eōmailani K. Kukahiko, Ph.D.
    Associate Specialist
    UH Mānoa College of Education
  • Kamaoli Kuwada, Ph.D.
    University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
  • P.F Ski Kwiatkowski
    Hui Kālai’āina
  • Mikiʻala Lidstone, Kumu Hula
    Hālau ʻo Kaululauaʻe
  • Linda Lierheimer
    History and Humanities, Hawaiʻi Pacific University
  • Kawika Lum-Nelmida
    Hoʻohulu Hawaiʻi
  • Lanakila Mangauil
  • Nalani Minton
    ‘Elele Pono, Ka Hoʻokolokolonui Kanaka Maoli
  • Davianna Pōmaikaʻi McGregor, Ph.D.
    Ethnic Studies Department, UHM.
  • Kāwika McKeague, AICP
    PAʻI Foundation Board President
  • Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio, Ph.D.
    Political Science Department, UHM
  • Jon Kamakawiwoʻole Osorio Ph.D.
    Dean Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge
    University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
  • B. Kanai‘a Nakamura
  • Paul Neves, Kumu Hula
    Hālau Haʻa Kea o Kinohi
  • Kauhilonohonua Padilla, Kumu Hula
    Hālau Hiʻiakaināmakalehua
  • No‘eau Peralto, Ph.D.
  • Kealoha Pisciotta
    Mauna Kea Anaina Hou
  • Ānuenue Punua
    Executive Director, Māʻilikūkahi ʻĀina Momona
  • Noʻukahauʻoli Revilla, Ph.D.
    English Department, UHM
  • Walter, Loretta, and Kalaniua Ritte
  • Kit Roehrig
  • Ileana Haunani Ruelas
  • Vicky Takamine, Kumu Hula
    Hālau Pua Aliʻi ʻIlima
  • Ty P. Kāwika Tengan, Ph.D.
    Ethnic Studies Department, UHM
  • Katherine A. Tibbetts, Ph.D.
  • Kailihiwa Vaughan, Kumu Hula
    Nā Kiaʻi – Hālau Hula Ka Lehua Tuahine
  • Keomailani Von Gogh
    Mauna Kea Anaina Hou
  • Deborah Ward
    Mauna Kea Hui
  • Kaleomanuiwa Wong
    Executive Director, Kauluakalana
  • Noe Noe Wong-Wilson, Ph.D.
  • Mari Yoshihara, Ph.D.
    American Studies Department, UHM

“The decisions attempting to greenlight the controversial telescope’s construction show very little foresight. The ripples that come in their wake will negatively impact the way we interact with the land and sea far into the future.”