TMT Protestors

Native Hawaiian activists and protesters gathered at the entrance of Mauna Kea Access Road to block construction crews from transporting heavy equipment to the summit of Maunakea for construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on July 15.

Gov. David Ige announced at a press conference today that he is withdrawing the emergency proclamation he issued on July 17 due to Hurricanes Erick and Flossie, which are expected to impact Hawai’i within a few days. 

Ige said that there are no immediate plans to move the construction equipment to the summit of Maunakea for the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope. 

“I want to assure everyone that we are committed,” Ige said. “Law enforcement officers will remain at the site to ensure the safety for all those involved, and we continue to seek a peaceful solution to move this project forward.”

The emergency proclamation from July 17 was issued in response to protests in opposition of TMT. The proclamation was “no longer necessary.”

Additionally, the Department of Land and Natural Resources granted the University of Hawaiʻi a two-year extension for initiation of the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope. The date is set for Sept. 26, 2021. 

“We believe that they have made great efforts to move forward,” Ige said. “Their efforts have been blocked by protesters who have been blocking the access road to their construction equipment which they have mobilized.” 

The permit was approved by the DNLR on September 17, 2017 under general conditions.

“Any work done or construction to be done on the land shall be initiated within two years of approval of such use, in accordance with construction plans that have been signed by the Chairperson, and, unless otherwise authorized, shall be completed within twice years of the approval,” as said in a press release. “The UH Hilo shall notify the Department in writing when construction activity is initiated and when it is completed.” 

Hurricanes Erick and Flossie are headed in the direction of the Hawaiian Islands with thousands of protesters still at the base of Maunakea.

Native Hawaiian activist Kaho'okahi Kanuha said that they are willing to evacuate the area if necessary to ensure the safety of other activists at the camp, Pu'uhuluhulu.