HILO, Hawaii (KHON2) – July 15 marks the one-year anniversary of the protests that halted construction for the Thirty Meter Telescope project atop Mauna Kea.

The demonstration began on July 15, 2019 with 8 kia’i chaining themselves to a cattle grate on Mauna Kea Access Road. The protests were designed to prevent construction equipment from being brought to the summit of the mountain.

Kia’i and kupuna remained encamped on Mauna Kea Access Road for 8 months, until safety concerns arose due to COVID-19 in mid-March, 2020.

TMT is still committed to building the 18-story telescope, but Gordon Squires, TMT Vice President of External Relations, says that the project remains on hold.

“We don’t see a way to move safely into on-site activities in the near future and given that we’d be cruising up to winter on Mauna Kea we really don’t see a way to resume on-site activities until after the winter season next year,” Squires said.

Protesters like Noenoe Wong Wilson say that kia’i will continue to remain vigilant in their fight against the TMT.

“We are committed as ever to stop that and this week we are commemorating what happened on year ago and how this movement really brought this community and our lahui together here in Hawaii,” Wilson said.

The delays have inflated the price of the project to $2.4 billion, which is $1 billion higher than the original price tag.