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Saturday, December 18, 2021
Calling OHA's Bluff: Legislators Recommend Removing All Observatories from Maunakea
By News Release @ 4:21 AM :: 4720 Views :: Greenmail, Higher Education, OHA

Hawaii House of Representatives' Mauna Kea Working Group Issues Draft Report for Comment

EDITOR's NOTE: Obviously legislators are calling OHA's bluff here.  After years pretending to want Mauna Kea cleared of telescopes--while really intending to collect $50M rent from them--how will OHA respond to this legislative report?  Even OHA knows: No scopes = No simoleons.

Comments due by January 4, 2022

News Release from Hawai‘i House of Representatives' Mauna Kea Working Group, Dec 17, 2021

The Hawai‘i House of Representatives' Mauna Kea Working Group's draft report has been posted on its website for public review and comment. (LINK) Comments can be submitted by email to by 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 4, 2022. The 2021 Hawai‘i House of Representatives adopted House Resolution 33 to convene a working group to develop recommendations for a governance and management structure for Mauna Kea. The Working Group is led by Rep. Mark M. Nakashima (District 1 – Hamakua, North Hilo, South Hilo), whose district includes Mauna Kea. Members include:

· Rep. Ty J.K. Cullen · Rep. Stacelynn K.M. Eli · Rep. David A. Tarnas · Ms. Jocelyn Leialoha M. Doane · Dr. Lui Hokoana · Dr. Pualani Kanaka‘ole Kanahele · Mr. Joshua Lanakila Mangauil · Ms. Brialyn Onodera · Mr. Shane Palacat-Nelsen · Dr. Noe Noe Wong-Wilson · Dr. Sylvia Hussey, Office of Hawaiian Affairs · Mr. Robert Masuda, Board of Land and Natural Resources · Dr. Bonnie Irwin, University of Hawaii · Mr. Rich Matsuda, Mauna Kea Observatories

The Working Group is expected to submit its final report of findings and recommendations to the Legislature by December 31, 2021.

"I want to thank the members of the Working Group who dedicated countless hours since convening in July 2021. We learned from each other and other stakeholders and worked together diligently to develop the recommendations presented in the report. I look forward to discussing this matter with the community through the 2022 Legislature as we adopt implementing legislation," said Rep. Nakashima.

PDF: MKWG Draft Report

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State House group recommends removing UH management of Maunakea

From UH News, Dec 17, 2021

A working group formed by the Hawaiʻi House of Representatives released a draft report (PDF) on Friday, December 17 recommending the University of Hawaiʻi be removed from managing state lands on Maunakea. The UH Center for Maunakea Stewardship (CMS) oversees cultural, scientific and educational resources which covers about 11,300 acres of the mauna.

The Maunakea Working Group intends to introduce legislation during the 2022 session to enact its proposal.

Among some of its recommendations outlined in the draft report (PDF):

  • A new 9-member governing entity will assume authority over the management of state-owned lands on Maunakea
  • Stewardship will be grounded in Native Hawaiian culture, values and guiding principles
  • Establish a plan to return the mauna above the 9,200-ft elevation to its natural state

The summit of Maunakea currently hosts 13 astronomical observatories within the science reserve area. The first of two telescopes are in the process of being decommissioned and are tentatively scheduled to be completed by late 2023.

“Many of the criticisms about UH are not necessarily tied to our management but they’re tied to this larger issue of whether people want to see a future for astronomy on Maunakea, whether they want to see observatories up there,” said Greg Chun, executive director of CMS. “That is not a management question. That is a policy question that the state of Hawaiʻi has to decide on.”

In the 1960s, under the leadership of Gov. John Burns, the state determined that it wanted to support astronomy on Maunakea and aspired to create a world-class program of education and research in astronomy. The university has achieved that and understands fully that the privilege of stewardship carries an even greater responsibility to mālama, to care for, Maunakea because of its unique heritage and resources.

On Thursday, December 16, an update on the integral strides and commitment to ongoing stewardship on Maunakea was provided to the UH Board of Regents (BOR). The BOR also formally received the draft Master Plan (PDF) for UH-managed lands on Maunakea, which is a proposed framework for aligning land-use decisions in a manner that is consistent with UH’s mission and purpose. The master plan requires board approval and would replace the Master Plan the BOR adopted in 2000.

PDF: BOR Special Meeting agenda.

MEANWHILE: UH regents schedule first meeting on new Maunakea Master Plan (this was Dec 16, 2021)


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