TMT contested case hearing

Is the TMT Contested Case Hearing a Filibuster?

I’ve been keeping up with the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) contested case hearing that is now underway, and have watched most of it.

Sunday’s Star-Advertiser had a front page story on what’s currently happening with the hearing.

Testimony in the TMT contested case hearing started October 20, and there are still 80 more people to testify. This means that, at the current rate, the hearing could continue through the end of 2017. The paper reports it’s being called a “filibuster” by some.

I don’t think it will take that long, though. I say that for a couple reasons.

One is that most of the most important witnesses have already spoken. Another is that the judge has done a good job of letting the anti-TMT people know what they can and cannot do and what’s needlessly repetitious. The process is becoming more streamlined.

We who support building the TMT on Mauna Kea agree with much of what the opposition is saying. The culture must be accommodated.

We don’t want to be adversarial or to toss them out of the room; we just all want a seat at the table.

Our main difference is that for us it’s not “all or nothing.”  The anti-TMT people are pretty much “all or nothing,” whereas we think there should be some compromise to accommodate education.

From the Star-Advertiser article:

Telescope hearing called a ‘filibuster’

By Kevin Dayton

November 27, 2016

HILO >> After nine days of exhaustive questioning of a half-dozen witnesses in a contested case hearing for the Thirty Meter Telescope, some TMT supporters are now privately describing the lengthy proceedings as a “filibuster” that will stall the project, and may even effectively block the $1.4 billion telescope from ever being built in Hawaii.

Testimony in the trial-like hearing for the proposed telescope began Oct. 20, and about 80 more witnesses are scheduled to testify. If the proceedings were to continue grinding along at their current pace of about six witnesses per month, the hearing would finally conclude sometime around the end of 2017,

Lawyers for the University of Hawaii complain the hearing so far has been characterized by “repetitive questions, attempts by cross-examiners to present their own testimony, and cross-examiners trying to argue with the witnesses and the hearings officer,” according to a recent UH filing. 

But opponents of the TMT contend in a filing with the state Supreme Court that the hearing process has been so flawed that they have been “deprived once again of any meaningful participation and any meaningful opportunity to be heard” in the contested case. Read the rest

photo Courtesy TMT International Observatory

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