By JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER
HONOLULU (AP) - The hearing officer overseeing a contested case hearing for the Thirty Meter Telescope's construction permit is asking lawyers in the case to meet with her next week.
Riki May Amano set the conference for Monday in Honolulu, but says it may be moved to Hilo.
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 she's a dues-paying member of the Imiloa Astronomy Center.
The telescope planned for Mauna Kea is the focus of protests by those who say it will desecrate sacred land. Protest leaders say that so far, no demonstrations are planned for what Amano calls a "pre-hearing conference." It's not clear if it will be open to the public.