CATAC Update on the Thirty Meter Telescope

By / par Michael Balogh (CATAC Chair)
(Cassiopeia – Autumn / l’automne 2022)

Site Update

On July 7, with Act 255 the Governor of the State of Hawai’i signed bill HB2024 into law, establishing a new Authority responsible for managing Mauna Kea lands. The Authority will include 11 voting members, including: a lineal descendent of a practitioner of Native Hawaiian traditional and customary practices associated with Mauna Kea; an individual who is a recognized practitioner of Native Hawaiian traditional and customary practices; and a representative who shall be appointed by the governor from a list of three names submitted by Maunakea Observatories. The process to appoint these members is underway. There will be a transition period of up to five years, during which time no new leases or subleases can be renewed or issued.

Partnership Update

On July 16, the National Science Foundation (NSF) issued a notice of intent to proceed with the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Section 106 processes. Four scoping meetings were held on the Big Island, to receive feedback on the process. Both written and oral testimony was provided to the visiting panel. More information about this process can be found here. You are invited and welcome to provide feedback on both the environmental review and the Draft Community Engagement Plan, via links on that site. An Environmental Assessment will also be made for the alternative site, at La Palma in the Canary Islands.

The Project is preparing for the NSF’s Preliminary Design Review, anticipated for the end of this year. This will be a comprehensive review of the whole US-ELTP project (TMT, GMT and NOIRLab), including governance and operations. A final site decision will not be required by the time of this review. If successful, the PDR will be followed by a Final Design Review (FDR) about a year later.

CATAC Membership

Michael Balogh (University of Waterloo), Chair,
Bob Abraham (University of Toronto; TIO SAC)
Stefi Baum (University of Manitoba)
Laura Ferrarese (NRC)
Harvey Richer (UBC)
Kim Venn (University of Victoria)
Luc Simard (Director General of NRC-HAA, non-voting, ex-officio)
Don Brooks (Executive Director of ACURA, non-voting, ex-officio)
Christine Wilson (CASCA President, non-voting, ex-officio)
Stan Metchev (TIO SAC, non-voting, ex-officio)
Tim Davidge (TIO SAC Canadian co-chair; NRC, observer)
Greg Fahlman (NRC, observer)

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