Presentation #514.01 in the session “Education and Public Engagement III: TMT”.
We summarize our experience as direct observers and participants in the community-based legal process for the Thirty Meter Telescope from 2016 to the present. The bulk of TMT’s process consisted of a public “contested case hearing” stretching over 44 days, where over 20 parties in the community presented their own witnesses, cross-examined others, presented evidence, and recommended a decision. The Land Board’s decision, upheld by the Hawaii Supreme Court, required key compromises in exchange for TMT’s permit, including the decommissioning of multiple older telescopes. Finally, we discuss efforts to ally with and assist community members concerned about the progress of TMT moving forward.