According to the results of a new poll, Hawaiian residents support the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope, funded by Caltech, on Mauna kea, a sacred mountain.
According to a press release, residents in Hawaii support the project by nearly a 2-to-1 margin.
The public opinion poll, conducted in March 2020 by Ward Research, Inc. reportedly shows that 61 percent of Hawaii residents support moving ahead with construction of TMT, with 32 percent opposed.
“Given where we are, it was important for us to understand how Hawaii residents feel about the project,” said Gordon Squires, TMT VP, External Relations in a prepared statement. “These results are significant, demonstrating that a majority of the Hawaii community supports TMT moving forward on Maunakea. The findings also show that the people of Hawaii see the benefits TMT will bring in terms of Hawaii’s economy and education. They also understand that TMT will likely revolutionize humankind’s understanding of the universe and will help to ensure that Hawaii remains the global leader in astronomy.”
Natives claim the land is sacred and have protested the construction of the telescope.
Among the key findings in the latest poll:
Ninety-two percent of Hawaii residents agree there should be a way for science and Hawaiian culture both to exist on Maunakea, about 83 percent of Hawaii residents agree that the protest on Maunakea is really about issues larger than TMT, such as Hawaiian homelands, overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom, and land management.
According to the poll, 80 percent of Hawaii residents agree that peaceful protests are fine but have no tolerance for protests that result in laws being broken.
Seventy-nine percent of Hawaii residents agree that the government is responsible for providing safe construction access to the TMT site, and 76 percent agree that TMT will help create good paying jobs and economic and educational benefits for those living on Hawaii Island.
The poll also found that 65 percent of Hawaii residents agree that failure to move forward with TMT will lead to the departure of Hawaii’s $167-million astronomy industry
Two-thirds of the Hawaii residents surveyed support the State using law enforcement to provide access to Maunakea and to allow other projects to proceed around the state.
Three-fourths of the Hawaii residents surveyed agree that the Government should enforce the law and peacefully arrest protestors that break the law – commenting that many protesters are choosing to get arrested to make a political statement.