Testimony in the protracted second contested case hearing on the Conservation District Use Application (CDUA) for the Thirty Meter Telescope concluded on March 2, after 44 days of hearings over nearly six months and 71 witnesses.
The next stages in the process are:
- The acceptance of evidence (written testimony, government records, scholarly articles, photos, and other documents used by the petitioners in making their case in chief);
- Preparation and distribution of transcripts for every day of testimony and pre-hearing conferences (the transcripts will be copied with full sets placed in three public libraries on the Big Island, the University of Hawai`i at Hilo library, and the main state library in Honolulu);
- Drafting and submittal of proposed findings of fact, conclusion of law, and decision and order by all the parties admitted to the case;
- Objections to other parties’ findings;
- The hearing officer’s submittal to the Board of Land and Natural Resources of her recommendations;
- The Land Board’s deliberation and vote on the Conservation District application.
After that, a court appeal is likely, especially in the event the Land Board decides to grant a permit to build the $1.4 billion facility proposed for the plateau north and west of the summit of Mauna Kea. Under Act 48 of the 2016 Legislature, the appeal is likely to be heard directly by the state Supreme Court.
Whether all this can be accomplished by the deadline that the TMT International Observatory Corporation has announced – April 2018 – is uncertain at this point.
— Patricia Tummons