KITV NEWS: TELESCOPE HEARING OFFICER WANTS FRESH START

HONOLULU (AP) –2 p.m.

The retired judge overseeing a contested case hearing for the Thirty Meter Telescope says she wants a fresh look at the issue.

Riki May Amano met with lawyers Monday to discuss matters such as motions, schedules and the materials she should have in her file ahead of a hearing for the project’s construction permit.

The state Supreme Court invalidated the project’s construction permit and ordered a new contested case hearing.

Amano allowed the public to attend what she says should normally be a private, informal meeting. At least 50 people crowded into a small room at the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Many of them were telescope protesters who say the project will desecrate sacred land.

Amano scheduled a June hearing in Hilo for requests submitted by those who want to participate in the contested case proceeding.

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8:50 a.m.

Lawyers involved in a contested case hearing for the Thirty Meter Telescope project are expected to meet with the retired judge overseeing the proceeding.

Monday’s “pre-hearing conference” is the first meeting hearing officer Riki May Amano has scheduled.

The state Supreme Court in December invalidated the project’s construction permit and ordered a new contested case hearing.

Amano says she’d like to discuss motions, schedules and other procedural matters. She promises it will be brief.

Opponents of the $1.4 billion project are upset over Amano’s selection as hearing officer. They say the retired Big Island judge has a conflict of interest because of her Imiloa Astronomy Center family membership.

The telescope planned for Mauna Kea is the focus of protests by those who say it will desecrate sacred land.

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