More changes made to stewardship bill that could reshape future of Mauna Kea

Your top local headlines for April 28, 2022.
Published: Apr. 27, 2022 at 7:42 AM HST|Updated: Apr. 28, 2022 at 4:31 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - State lawmakers have made more changes to a controversial bill that could reshape the future of Mauna Kea and astronomy in Hawaii.

House Bill 2024 sought to remove the University of Hawaii as the manager of the mountain and replace it with a new governing authority.

But the bill was modified in the Senate so that UH and the new governing body would have joint oversight.

The latest version introduced Tuesday would leave UH out after a five-year transition period. After that, the new governing authority would take over day-to-day management of the mountain.

The new authority will have 11 members, including the Hawaii County mayor, the UH Board of Regents chair and a cultural practitioner.

The big question is how the bill would affect Hawaii’s astronomy if passed. Gov. David Ige had previously raised concerns that the bill could end the $100 million astronomy industry on Hawaii Island and the stalled Thirty Meter Telescope project.

Lawmakers who worked on this latest version said, “Astronomy is the policy of the goal.” But they added that the goal is to protect Mauna Kea for future generations.

Lawmakers will discuss this bill Thursday at 1:30 p.m. on the state Legislature’s YouTube page.

This story will be updated.

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