Public Input Sought on Environmental Impact of Maunakea Leases and Easement

February 23, 2018, 10:46 AM HST
* Updated February 27, 9:37 AM
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The University of Hawaiʻi will hold three open house meetings seeking public input on an Environmental Impact Statement Preparation Notice to replace the two existing leases and easement for UH-managed lands on Maunakea.

Public meetings will be held where exhibits will be available for viewing and attendees will have an opportunity to talk with various resource specialists, managers and planners.

The meetings are scheduled as follows:
• Waimea; Monday, March 12, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.; Department of Hawaiian Homelands – Kūhiō Hale, 64-756 Māmalahoa Highway
• Hilo; Tuesday, March 13, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.; ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai‘i – Moanahoku Hall, 600 ‘Imiloa Place
• Honolulu; Wednesday, March 14, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.; University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center, Sullivan Conference Center, 701 Ilalo St.

The EISPN was published in the Feb. 23 issue of the Environmental Notice of the State Office of Environmental and Quality Control.


Hawaiʻi County Mayor Harry Kim speaks about Maunakea. VC: Big Island Video News


The University of Hawai‘i leases the 11,288-acre Mauna Kea Science Reserve (MKSR) under general lease S-4191, which expires on Dec. 31, 2033, and the 19-acre Halepōhaku mid-level facility under general lease S-5529, which expires in 2041.

In addition, UH holds non-exclusive Easement S-4697 for the Mauna Kea Access Road between the two leased properties, the easement area is roughly 71 acres and the easement expires on December 31, 2033.

The two leased properties plus a 400-yard-wide corridor on either side of the Mauna Kea Access Road, excluding areas within the adjacent Natural Area Reserve, make up the UH Management Area on Maunakea.


UH is seeking to replace its two existing leases and easement with a new land authorization well before they expire.

UH is seeking a new land authorization for two principal reasons. The first is to incorporate the new Comprehensive Management Plan objectives into the authorization. The second is to provide an adequate planning horizon for ongoing and future scientific activity, something that is increasingly difficult as the remaining term of the existing Master Lease becomes shorter.

The EISPN discusses a “No Action Alternative,” an action alternative under which UH receives a new authorization for a much reduced land area relative to its current encumbered area, and an action alternative under which it receives a new authorization for the same areas it currently leases or holds an easement over.

These three alternatives and potentially additional alternatives advanced by stakeholders during the EISPN review period will be evaluated in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).

The EISPN outlines the kinds of potential adverse and beneficial impacts that are likely to result from the alternatives being considered. These potential impacts and others identified by stakeholders during the review of the EISPN will be evaluated in the DEIS.

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