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The Hawaii Supreme Court Ruling

On Wednesday, December 2, 2015, the Hawaii Supreme Court invalidated the Conservation District Use Permit issued by the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) to the University of Hawaii - Hilo to build TMT on Maunakea.

At the time the permit was initially granted, a contested case hearing was also approved, as was a stay on construction pending the outcome of the contested case hearing. The Court in its decision noted: "Quite simply, the Board put the cart before the horse when it issued the permit before the request for contested case hearing was resolved and the hearing held. Accordingly, the permit cannot stand."

The Supreme Court returned the case to the Hawaii Circuit Court with the following instructions: "We therefore vacate the judgment of the circuit court and the permit issued by the Board, and remand so that a contested case hearing can be conducted before the Board or a new hearing officer, or for other proceedings consistent with this opinion."

For the last eight-plus years, TMT has followed the process set forth by the state. More than 20 public hearings have been held since 2008. An EIS was completed and approved. For the complete timeline, visit

The response to the Hawaii Supreme Court ruling was made by the TMT International Observatory Board Chairman Chancellor Henry Yang:

"We thank the Hawaii Supreme Court for the timely ruling and we respect their decision. TMT will follow the process set forth by the state, as we always have. We are assessing our next steps on the way forward. We appreciate and thank the people of Hawaii and our supporters from these last eight-plus years."

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