Statement By Robert McLaren, Associate Director of the Institute for Astronomy on the Lawsuit Regarding the Keck Outrigger Telescopes Project

University of Hawaiʻi
Posted: Jul 17, 2003

"The University of Hawai'i (UH) has not fully reviewed the court‘s ruling on Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) vs O‘Keefe and Kudritzki. Nonetheless, the UH remains convinced that spiritual, cultural and environmental values can be integrated with scientific endeavors for the benefit of all. Additionally, UH is gratified that the ruling allows the state permitting process to continue to move forward."

Background on the W. M. Keck ObservatoryThe W. M. Keck Observatory, located atop Mauna Kea, was made possible by grants totaling more than $140 million from the W. M. Keck Foundation. It is operated by the California Association for Research and Astronomy which is a scientific collaboration between the University of California, the California Institute of Technology and NASA. The Keck I telescope began science operations in May 1993 and the Keck II began in October, 1996.

NASA has proposed adding four to six outrigger telescopes on the current site of the two Keck telescopes. The combined power of the outriggers would allow scientists to develop images of distant solar systems. OHA has sued both NASA and the University of Hawaii contending that environmental and historic preservation requirements have not been met by the project.