The Maui News - The state Board of Land and Natural Resources has reaffirmed its approval of a key permit for a controversial solar telescope to be built atop Haleakala, essentially giving the University of Hawai'i the green light to proceed with the $300 million project.
The board ruled in a contested case hearing dating back to December 2010, when the body approved a conservation district use permit for the project. That decision was challenged by Kilakila O Haleakala, which objected to the project's impacts to cultural and environmental resources.
The board said in its decision that the proposed Advanced Technology Solar Telescope--a joint project of the University of Hawaii and the National Science Foundation--is consistent with uses allowed in the state's conservation district.
One of 20 conditions attached to the order stipulates that within two years of the facility being completed, Kilakila O Haleakala may require a third ahu (altar or shrine) be built at Science City "to provide an additional location for practitioners to conduct cultural practices."
Kilakila O Haleakala has challenged the project in court. The Hawai'i Supreme Court said it will take up the organization's request to review an earlier decision issued by the Intermediate Court of Appeals. The case will be scheduled for oral argument before the high court.