HILO, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - The final public hearing over the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope kicked off Wednesday in Hilo.
The state Land Board was to hear from 23 representatives Wednesday — three in favor and 20 opposed.
The board must decide whether to grant a permit for the Mauna Kea project, which would be the worlds most powerful telescope.
Critics say the project violates laws that protect the environment and Native Hawaiian religion and culture.
"The carrying capacity of the site has been exceeded already. The hospitality that was extended has been abused, the management has failed to address the concerns of the rightholders of the public trust," said TMT opponent Deborah J. Ward.
But TMT attorney Douglas Ing, said the project doesn't "unreasonably interfere" with anyone's right to exercise their religion.
Hearings officer Riki May Amano has recommended approval of the project, saying the project will be built and operated so environmental and cultural concerns are addressed.
The Land Board is expected to make its decision soon. And that decision will likely be appealed to the state Supreme Court.