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Stene: Frustrated with anti-Mauna Kea astronomy activists

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By Aaron Stene

I’m absolutely frustrated with the anti-Mauna Kea astronomy activists.

They continue wage legal warfare against one of the backbones of Hawaii County’s economy. The Mauna Kea telescopes provide not only an economic, but also educational, boost to our island. However, these activists have portrayed the telescope development on Mauna Kea as evil and harmful to our island.

In addition, they’ve decided to protect Mauna Kea through the courts instead of working within the system. For example, they filed a lawsuit attempting to invalidate the Mauna Kea Comprehensive Management Plan. This document provides the framework to preserve Mauna Kea for future generations.

It seems these astronomy opponents hold very shortsighted view of Mauna Kea and this island.

Hawaii County’s economic mainstays are tourism, construction, real estate, and the military. These industries are unsustainable over the long term. Nevertheless, this fact hasn’t dawned on these individuals.

Kealoha Pisciotta even stated “If jobs are the concern, the Target store being built in Kona will offer twice as many jobs as TMT.”

Ms. Pisciotta completely missed the point with that infuriating comment. Retail jobs, unlike ones at the Thirty Meter Telescope, do not provide a living wage or are sustainable over the long term.

So, I hope these activists finally see the bigger picture and cease filing lawsuits attempting to protect Mauna Kea. Hawaii County’s future economic health is at stake.

(Aaron Stene is a Kona resident and long-time blogger.)

One Response to “Stene: Frustrated with anti-Mauna Kea astronomy activists”

  1. ivan bishop says:

    I visited and used the telescopes on Mauna Kea many times in the late eighties.

    I’ve been back half a dozen times or so in the last 12 years to bring my children, to show them the
    Island (I love) and just enjoy being back. They were (rightly) awed by the Telescopes. And they
    had fun at Hale Pohaku.

    These instruments serve a vital scientific purpose and cannot simply be replaced by scientists moving
    operations to Chile (ESO) , the Canary Islands nor Australia.

    Mauna Kea is unique.

    Though I now live in California, we have the same issues we people filing law suits who don’t
    see the need for sustainable, well paid occupations to flourish in Silicon Valley. They believe
    a big box store and some nail salons can replace hi-tech industry.

    They can’t.

    As Silicon valley NEEDs to engage more with green-tech and hi-tech as it once did, so too must
    the science continue on Mauna Kea.

    Dr Ivan Bishop


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