August 28, 2017
US Senator Schatz Supports Rule of Law  
"I believe strongly in the opportunity for astronomy on Hawaii Island ."
US Senator Brian Schatz
Sherry Bracken recently interviewed US Senator Brian Schatz for the LAVA 105.3 Island Issues program. US Senator Schatz commented on Mauna Kea, astronomy and the rule of law. Mauna Kea comments begin at the 18:36 mark on the podcast

US Senator Brian Schatz, "First of all, I believe strongly in science. I believe strongly in the opportunity for astronomy on Hawaii island and across the state of Hawaii. I understand these issues are complicated. I understand these issues, in a lot of instances, they'll just split communities and sometimes split individual families. This is tough stuff.

I really believe that we have a gift in Mauna Kea and we have an opportunity to literally explore the universe and that there's no other place like Mauna Kea on the planet. And I think that you can do astronomy on that mountain and respect the mountain and the first peoples on that mountain and native Hawaiian culture. So I think we have to do that.
The other thing that I feel very strongly about is that the law is the law. And that whatever the Supreme Court decides and whatever the Land Board decides is that the operation of law is what it is.

And I've been critical of developers who move forward and skip steps that they find inconvenient and likewise I think it is appropriate that whenever this process plays itself out either democratically or through the Land Board or through the courts that whatever is decided in the legal context, in the government context, is what happens because we all live in this beautiful island space together and there's no place for unlawful especially dangerous behavior if you don't get the outcome that you were pushing for."

The Thirty Meter Telescope Project has been developed as collaboration among Caltech, UC, the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy (ACURA), and the national institutes of Japan, China, and India with the goal to design, develop, construct, and operate a thirty-meter class telescope and observatory on Mauna Kea in cooperation with the University of Hawaii (TMT Project). The TMT International Observatory LLC (TIO), a non-profit organization, was established in May 2014 to carry out the construction and operation phases of the TMT Project. The Members of TIO are Caltech, UC, the National Institutes of Natural Sciences of Japan, the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Department of Science and Technology of India, and the National Research Council (Canada); the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) is a TIO Associate. Major funding has been provided by the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation.

For more information about the TMT project, visit, or follow @TMTHawaii.


Sandra Dawson

TMT Manager, Hawaii Community Affairs