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Tuesday, February 22, 2022
OHA Does not Back HB2024: Wants to Make Money from Telescopes
By Andrew Walden @ 8:03 AM :: 2067 Views

OHA Testimony on HB2024, Feb 19, 2022 (pg 13-14)

(Translations provided to enhance reader comprehension.)

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) offers the following COMMENTS on HB2024, intended to establish the Mauna Kea stewardship authority (“MKSA”), and, produced from the work and report of the Mauna Kea Working Group (“MKWG”), created by House Resolution No. 33, H.D. 1, (Regular Session of 2021), where OHA was named as one of fifteen members.

(CLUE: We are about to prove that Mauna Kea is NOT 'sacred' to OHA.)

OHA Board of Trustees Authority.

Pursuant to the Hawai’i State Constitution (“Constitution”) and the Hawaii Revised Statutes (“HRS”), the power and authority of the OHA reside with the nine elected Trustees, collectively as the Board of Trustees, and not the Administrator, functioning as the Ka Pouhana, Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Therefore, the naming of the OHA CEO as a member of the nine (9) member decision making board of the governing entity is inconsistent with the Constitution and HRS articulation of the fiduciary responsibilities of the Trustees that has not been delegated to the CEO in this matter. Therefore, the listing of the “chief executive officer of the office of Hawaiian affairs”1, as of one of the nine voting members, should be replaced by the “chair of the Board of Trustees, or the chairperson’s designee”.

Administrative Attachment to BLNR.

HB2024 states the Mauna Kea stewardship authority2 shall be attached to the office of the chairperson of the board of land and natural resources (“BLNR”) for administrative purposes. OHA raises several concerns with this MKSA attachment to BLNR, even if administrative. Indeed, the current governance and management of Mauna Kea by the University of Hawaii is a result of the permissions provided by the BLNR; therefore, at the governance “root” is the BLNR. The historical actions and inactions of the department of land and natural resources (“DLNR”), as governed by the BLNR, on a breadth of matters related to governance and management of lands, water, cultural and natural resources, including but not limited to iwi kupuna, island burial councils, length of leases, revocable permits, interim instream flow standards, etc. are areas of top of mind concerns.

OHA as Collaborative Steward.

During the MKWG convenings, particularly when discussions occurred regarding various governance models, OHA suggested a governance model in which OHA could function as a collaborative steward with state entities that have kuleana for the management of lands, water, cultural and natural resources, academic and scientific pursuits, and most importantly, our Lāhui. Although, ultimately, the suggested governance model did not advance, and was not included in the final report recommendations, OHA maintains that a collaborative stewardship model should be considered more seriously given the many public and private interests and the powers and responsibilities that the bill envisions for the MKSA.

(Translation: Mauna Kea should be handed over to us.)

Authorities include, but are not limited to: holding title to the lands; stabling access, stewardship and management policies--protection of natural and cultural resources, all recreational activities and commercial uses--; protect Native Hawaiian rights; enforcement partners; engage in community dialogue, outreach, engagement and consultation processes; consider various supplemental revenue sources (e.g., leases—terms and fees, observatory, common area maintenance, toll fees, general funds, ecosystem service fees); and development of an astronomy framework.

(Translation: We will make money from tolls, tours, and telescopes on Mauna Kea.  Therefore we do not believe Mauna Kea is sacred.  You shouldn't either.)

As further stated in the measure, jurisdiction of the MKSA, “..state-managed lands about the six thousand five hundred foot elevation line, inclusive of Puʻu Huluhulu to the summit of Mauna Kea…should be held in trust as part of the public land trust; provided that the State shall transfer management and control of the lands to a sovereign Native Hawaiian entity upon its recognition by the United States and the State of Hawaiʻi.” The jurisdictional description and transfer intents align with OHA being a collaborative steward with more kuleana, even a kaumaha, with our Lāhui.

(Translation: Mauna Kea should be handed over to us.)

---30---

HB2024: Text, Status

Precisely As Explained: Calling OHA’s Bluff:  HB2024 Would Strip Mountain of Telescopes, Hand it over to Hawaiian Activists

2015: Telescope: For OHA, it’s all About the Rent Money

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