HILO, Hawaii – Last week, a long time advocate for the environment – and critic of Mauna Kea management – Nelson Ho took the stand in the TMT contested case hearing.
Ho was called to the stand as a witness for hearing participant Jennifer Leinaʻala Sleightholm, one of the several participants opposed to the $1.5 billion Thirty Meter Telescope planned for Mauna Kea.
Ho has been voicing community concerns abut the mountain for decades, and was asked in 1995 by Sierra Club members to “investigate old telescope construction debris that had blown into the Ice Age Natural Area Reserve and elsewhere on the upper slopes, including debris encroaching on the shrines and other cultural sites that ring the
“The proposed Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) should be built,” Ho wrote in his written direct testimony. “It will be a magnificent scientific instrument. But it should not be built on Mauna Kea. One key reason is because land use mismanagement—and the unseemly politics behind it—has persisted since the beginning of the 1968 UH lease. Those practices must not be allowed to continue. It is this chronic mismanagement and unseemly politics that created the controversy, and continue to fuel widespread community opposition to TMT and the other telescope projects waiting in line behind it (such as the Canada-France-Hawaiʻi Telescope’s so-called “upgrade” to replace it with a new $100 million High Dynamic Range 10-meter telescope).