HILO — In his State of the State address Tuesday morning, Gov. David Ige reiterated his belief that the conflict surrounding the Thirty Meter Telescope can still be resolved peacefully.
In a brief aside during his prepared statements on the problems besetting the state, Ige acknowledged the extended TMT controversy, which saw Maunakea Access Road closed for months as protesters occupied the road to prevent TMT construction on Maunakea, which some consider sacred.
Ige said that both sides of the conflict have strong arguments and that there is no easy solution. However, he went on, the conflict can be resolved if both sides are “open-hearted, as well as open-minded.”
“There are some who have encouraged me to take strong measures against those who are protesting on Maunakea,” Ige said. “That would have been the easier course. But it is not just the authority of law that is at stake. It is so much more than that.”
Ige said the conflict threatens to divide the Hawaii community and undermine its “sense of aloha.”
“(Aloha) is the thing that underpins our laws and gives them meaning and an ethical foundation,” Ige said. “That trust in each other is sacred. And I will not break that bond, no matter how convenient or easy.”
Ige concluded his remarks on TMT asking “any and everyone who refuses to let this issue divide us” to work with him to find a way forward, a statement greeted with applause from the audience.