By CATHY BUSSEWITZAssociated Press
HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii's Board of Land and Natural Resources is set to make a key decision on the future of a giant telescope.
The state board is scheduled to vote on the sublease for the Thirty Meter Telescope on Friday.
If approved, scientists will be cleared to begin building the $1.3 billion telescope. They hope to begin construction later this year and start operations in 2021.
Organizers plan to build the telescope on the summit of the Mauna Kea volcano, the highest peak in Hawaii.
The project was initiated by several American and Canadian universities. Universities and institutions in China, India and Japan later signed on as partners.
Some Native Hawaiians oppose the project because they believe it would defile a summit they consider sacred. Environmentalists also oppose the telescope.
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King tides are expected to begin Thursday.