FILE - This undated file artist rendering made available by the TMT Observatory Corporation shows the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope, planned to be built atop Mauna Kea, a large dormant volcano in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii in Hawaii. The $1.4 billion project to build one of the world's largest telescopes is up against intense protests by Native Hawaiians and others who say building it on the Big Island's Mauna Kea mountain will desecrate sacred land. (TMT Observatory Corporation via AP, File)

FILE - This undated file artist rendering made available by the TMT Observatory Corporation shows the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope, planned to be built atop Mauna Kea, a large dormant volcano in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii in Hawaii. The $1.4 ... billion project to build one of the world's largest telescopes is up against intense protests by Native Hawaiians and others who say building it on the Big Island's Mauna Kea mountain will desecrate sacred land. (TMT Observatory Corporation via AP, File) (The Associated Press)

Divisive bid to build telescope in Hawaii faces new hearing

Features Associated Press

A $1.4 billion project to build one of the world's largest telescopes in Hawaii is facing a second round of construction permit hearings amid intense protests.

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Native Hawaiians and others say building it on the Big Island's Mauna Kea mountain will desecrate sacred land.

The proceedings known as contested-case hearings are set to begin Thursday and expected to last until next month.

Numerous parties are participating, including a group of Native Hawaiians who support the telescope. Dozens of witnesses are expected to testify. It's not clear when the retired judge overseeing the hearings would issue a ruling.

Telescope officials are looking for alternate sites in case the telescope can't be built in Hawaii.