Lawmakers agree on deal to curtail UH management of Mauna Kea

The new plan curtails the University of Hawaii's role in managing Mauna Kea.
Published: Apr. 29, 2022 at 5:34 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - After multiple changes, state House and Senate negotiators have agreed on new plan to curtail the University of Hawaii’s management of Mauna Kea.

There was applause among conferees after the deal was hammered out.

They ended up taking away full management from UH and giving it to a new authority.

The 11-member Mauna Kea stewardship and oversight authority would include DLNR, UH Regents, Hawaii Island’s mayor, the observatories and a cultural practitioner.

After a five-year transition period, the authority would take over the master lease for the summit, which expires in 2033.

“During the transition period, they can begin discussions with the observatories so that once the transition occurs, they can move forward with future plans for the Mauna,” said Land and Water Committee Chair David Tarnas.

UH and the governor had earlier warned that the bill could end astronomy atop Mauna Kea because of uncertainty over negotiating its subleases with the observatories.

Meanwhile, Native Hawaiians have accused the University of years of mismanagement.

Lawmakers say the measure supports astronomy and stewardship of Mauna Kea.

“The whole purpose of this measure is to support astronomy and it’s really to support astronomy with this new stewardship paradigm,” said Tarnas.

State Sen. Donna Mercado Kim, chair of the Higher Education Committee, said the final draft “responds to the many concerns that’s been raised by the University of Hawaii, by the Attorney General’s Office, by the DLNR, the public and of course the Senate.”

The measure now goes to the full House and Senate for full approval before advancing to the governor’s desk.

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