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Hawaii Supreme Court hearing arguments in case challenging Mauna Kea telescope permit

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HONOLULU — Hawaii's Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments in a case involving building one of the world's largest telescopes on Mauna Kea.

Opponents are challenging a permit allowing the telescope to be built on conservation land. The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, allowing it to bypass the Intermediate Court of Appeals.

PHOTO: Pua Case, center, of Waimea, Hawaii, stands in front of the Hawaii Supreme Court with her daughter, Hawane Rios, left, and other protesters of the Thirty Meter Telescope project, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015 in Honolulu. Hawaii's Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments in a case involving building one of the world's largest telescopes on Mauna Kea, which is considered sacred land by some Native Hawiians. (AP Photo/Cathy Bussewitz)
Pua Case, center, of Waimea, Hawaii, stands in front of the Hawaii Supreme Court with her daughter, Hawane Rios, left, and other protesters of the Thirty Meter Telescope project, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015 in Honolulu. Hawaii's Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments in a case involving building one of the world's largest telescopes on Mauna Kea, which is considered sacred land by some Native Hawiians. (AP Photo/Cathy Bussewitz)

Protesters rallied outside the Supreme Court building before Thursday morning's hearing. Many opponents say they are against building the Thirty Meter Telescope on land they consider sacred.

Construction halted in April after dozens of protesters were arrested for blocking crews.

Astronomers revere the site because Mauna Kea's summit at nearly 14,000 feet is well above the clouds, and provides a clear view of the sky for 300 days a year.

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