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Standup to Canadian TMT investors at the Pasadena Headquarters

April 19, 2015

Addendum: April 22– Canada just released the 2015 Economic Action Plan and the budget proposes to provide $243.5 million over 10 years toward securing a viewing share for Canadian researchers at the Thirty Meter Telescope, in partnership with the United States, Japan, China and India. A combined $100 million is proposed to be reallocated from the existing resources of the National Research Council, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, Western Economic Diversification Canada, the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions and Public Works and Government Services Canada.

As part of the project, dozens of Canadian industries are expected to develop advanced capabilities and products transferable to future applications in the health, defence and telecommunications sectors.

Protect Mauna KeaStandup to Canadian TMT investors at the Pasadena Headquarters

Protect Mauna a Wakea Action at TMT Office in Pasadena
Wednesday, April 29 at 10:30am
1111 S Arroyo Parkway,
Pasadena, CA 91105

It has been reported that the Thirty Meter Telescope, LLC board will hold a crucial meeting on April 29th in Pasadena, California, where it hopes to get Canada’s full commitment for financing the construction of the mega-18 story high telescope. The TMT developers will be asking the Canadian government to honor their commitment for funding.

According to a March 2015 article in Nature:

Canadian astronomers have been a driving force in the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project since planning began more than a decade ago. But now, as clearing begins on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, where the mighty telescope will sit, they risk being left out in the cold. As early as next month, the Canadian government is expected to release its 2015 budget soon — and if it does not contain the Can$300 million (US$236 million) that astronomers are asking for the TMT, Canada may become a bit player in the project that it has helped to lead for so long.

TMT developers had expected Canada’s $300-million commitment to materialize last year. It did not.”

Besides the ongoing actions protecting Mauna a Wākea on Hawai‘i Island, new actions opposing TMT development are being planned at TMT headquarters in Pasadena.

In addressing Canadian funding, proper consent was necessary for the approval of  TMT construction and operation. We need to let Canada know that the University of Hawai‘i failed in its obligation to receive the proper consent from not only the greater public, but from Kānaka rightsholders who oppose development on their cultural, historical, and sacred site, and that this is a human rights issue, not simply a debate between sacred and science.

In a Committee on Finance document item on Consent (March 19, 2014),  the University of Hawai‘i said that it had engaged the Hawaiian community to support the TMT, and fulfilled other associated activities that led to TMT partners signing the Master Agreement.

Yet, In contrast with the University of Hawaii’s claim for consent, members of Mauna Kea Hui and Mauna Kea Ohana submitted a petition yesterday, opposing the construction of TMT containing 53,000 signatures to governor Ige’s office.

Additionally, a recent editorial in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Dr. Jonathon Osorio, Shelley Muneoka and Dr. Candace Fujikane poses a very clear objection (article behind a subscription wall is reposted here):

“And so we must address the question of whether we can share that sacredness with the telescope with a clear answer. No. We cannot because there is nothing careful or reverent about its development, construction or even its intent. The TMT itself is a symptom of a society that recognizes no limits. Why should 30 meters be sufficient when 3 or 12 were not? And if that gaze they have been afforded into the farthest reaches of this universe produces simply a hunger for more penetrating looks at the sky, at what point will the astronomy community possibly acknowledge the need for reverence articulated by Kanaka Maoli?

Stop the construction. Bring the machines off the mountain, let the leases to the university expire and the mountain heal.”

This failure to obtain consent will be addressed this week by the Pacific Caucus, who will be submitting an intervention to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, which includes the right to “maintain and strengthen their distinctive spiritual relationship with their traditionally owned or otherwise occupied and used lands, territories, waters and coastal seas and other resources and to uphold their responsibilities to future generations in this regard.” (Article 25 UNDRIP)

Last week in an apparent show of conciliation, David Ige thanked TMT for postponing the halt of construction, “for its willingness to be respectful and sensitive to all of Hawaii – its special people, its sense of place and its unique host culture.” Then, earlier this week, Governor Ige announced that TMT will postpone construction. What he doesn’t tell you is that TMT does not have the funding in place to continue construction.

TMT is an LLC operating as a 501(c)(3). LLCs are Limited Liability Corporations, generally for-profit and as such runs counter to the 501(c)(3) non-profit IRS tax code.The advantages of an LLC provides partners with the shield of a corporation from liabilty resulting from environmental damages, or breaches in trust and obligations if they were to freely transfer their assets, operations and debt to creditors or whatever financial/ insurance company that holds the bonds or assets of the corporation. The fact that TMT is an an LLC already brings a cloud of obscurity to the financing model.

As reported in Nature, all the other major players — two California university systems (UC and Caltech), along with the national observatories of Japan, China and India — have committed substantial “future” funds to the billion-dollar-plus” telescope. These future funds are the financial contracts whose value could very well be derived from similar kinds of complicated toxic assets, or derivatives that led to the financial collapse.

Ku Ching, who has been actively opposing TMT for the last several years has said, “I believe that – with Canada’s participation – that a shortfall of approximately 17% exists.  Without Canada – it’ll be about 35%.

Noting that TMT has no experience in building any telescope, is a limited liability corporation, has no real assets and no credit rating – all attempts to condition the permit with bonding, sureties, etc., failed.  The university, and thus the “state,” is as naked as an emperor without clothes.”

Supporting Organizations:
Kaha I ka Panoa Kaleponi Hawaiian Civic Club,
Paradocs Production,
Hula Halau ‘O Lilinoe,
Halau Hula ‘O Kawahineali’inohoikeanuenue-‘elua,
Halau Hula ‘O Hoaloha
Moana Nui Action Alliance.

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