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Lawmakers pass bill to remove UH as sole management authority on Mauna Kea

Mauna Kea (AP Photo/Caleb Jones, File)
Mauna Kea (AP Photo/Caleb Jones, File)(Caleb Jones | AP)
Published: May. 3, 2022 at 7:43 PM HST|Updated: May. 4, 2022 at 11:46 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state Legislature Tuesday gave its final approval to a bill that would strip the University of Hawaii as the sole management authority on Mauna Kea.

After a five-year transition, the university will have to share that power.

A new, 11-member authority would include the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, UH Regents, Hawaii County’s mayor, the observatories and a cultural practitioner.

The bill was supported by both opponents and supporters of the Thirty Meter Telescope.

However, some still fear the new stewardship authority would kill astronomy in Hawaii by giving telescope critics a role in deciding future leases.

“The ramifications of this bad bill will resonate throughout the worldwide astronomy business and scientific communities,” said state Sen. Lorraine Inouye.

“The status quo right now has the future of astronomy in Hawaii on life support,” said state Sen. Jarret Keohokalole. “I cannot promise that this bill fixes the conflict, but I can tell you that doing nothing right now, fixes nothing.”

Only five lawmakers opposed the new management plan.

The measure now heads to the governor’s desk for approval.

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