Video courtesy ‘Olelo Community Media, June 24 video by David Corrigan
HONOLULU, Hawaii – Board of Land and Natural Resources member and Keaukaha resident Stanley Roehrig declared on Friday that the Thirty Meter Telescope is holding the other telescopes on Mauna Kea hostage.
Roehrig, an attorney and former University of Hawaii Regent, made the statement during testimony given by Doug Simons of the Canada France Hawaii Telescope. Simons was speaking in support of new rules restricting access to the mountain, a state proposal in response to the ongoing blockade of TMT by opponents of the $1.4 billion observatory.
Roehrig, who ultimately voted in favor of the new rules, spoke often during Friday’s hearing on Oahu. He told Simons that times have changed because of the TMT controversy. “All my neighbors in Keaukaha, they got flags flying in their cars and trucks,” he said.
The state and the University of Hawaii have already been making concessions to decrease the current astronomy footprint on the summit in order to make room for TMT. The decommissioning of two observatories has already been announced with more likely to come before TMT becomes operational. Acts of civil disobedience – which on June 24 included 12 arrests and the placement of rocks to block the summit access road – are likely to continue, as stated by TMT opponents during Friday’s hearing. Normal operations for other observatories have already been affected.
“What is going to have to happen for the existing telescopes not to close down and not to all their lose billions in investments and all of their grants that funneled through the Institute for Astronomy for viewing time… There has to be a heartrendering discussion between all of the telescopes, including the Thirty Meter (Telescope). The Thirty Meter is holding all of you guys hostage, not because they’re mean or whatever, but its the practical consequence of the dispute.” – Stanley Roehrig on June 10, 2015