...to review the Final EIS for the TMT Observatory Project. The Project involves the construction, operation, and eventual decommissioning of an optical/infrared observatory on approximately 5 acres of presently undeveloped land on the northern plateau within the 525-acre Astronomy Precinct of the Mauna Kea Science Reserve near the top of Maunakea.1 The northern plateau is the area that starts at the base of the summit cinder cones and extends approximately half a mile to the north. The northern plateau varies in elevation between 500 feet and 700 feet below the summit of Maunakea and the existing observatories near the summit. The entire Science Reserve is part of the State of Hawai‘i Conservation District, resource subzone.
The observatory is known as the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) Observatory because the telescope’s primary mirror will be 30 meters (98 feet) in diameter. The TMT will be the most technically advanced telescope in the world with observational powers many times greater than any available today.
The Final EIS for the Project was published May 8, 2010. It can be downloaded from the Document Library on this website. Those that submitted comments or are on the Project mailing list have been informed that the Final EIS is available. A brief summary of the Final EIS is also available here.
Mitigation measures in the Final EIS have been developed to avoid, minimize, rectify, or reduce the Project’s potential substantial adverse environmental impacts. Mitigation measures have been considered throughout the Project planning process and incorporated into the Project design and construction plans. The mitigation measures presented in the Draft EIS have been refined based on input received during the Draft EIS review period, resulting in the final and committed mitigation measures outlined in the Final EIS.
1 Maunakea is spelled as one word because it is considered the traditional Hawaiian spelling (Ka Wai Ola, Vol. 25 No. 11). Maunakea is a proper noun, therefore spelled as one word in Hawaiian. This spelling is found in original Hawaiian language newspapers dating back to the late 1800s when the Hawaiian language was the medium of communication. In more recent years Maunakea has been spelled as two words, which literally mean “white mountain.” Spelled as two words it is a common noun that could refer to any white mountain verses the proper name of this particular mountain on Hawai'i Island. The common “Mauna Kea” spelling is only used where Mauna Kea is used in a proper name, such as the “Mauna Kea Science Reserve.”