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Judge blocks Hawaii telescope project

The Hawaiian state supreme court has ruled that construction of a mountain-top observatory cannot proceed, leaving the Thirty Meter Telescope’s future uncertain.

A Hawaii state planning board approved the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s request for a permit to build the TMT in February 2011. But Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald ruled on 2 December that the board had violated the state’s constitution and the university’s own rules by voting on the permit before opponents’ complaints had been formally heard.

It is not clear what will happen next to the massive telescope project, whose cost was estimated at $1.4 billion in 2009.

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