UH Regents Pass New Rules, Resolution on Maunakea
The University of Hawai‘i Board of Regents approved new regulations that will impact the management and stewardship of of the university-managed land on Maunakea.
On Nov. 6, the regents meeting at UH-Hilo lasted 11 hours with 99 people testifying against these action items. Two specific agenda items were discussed and both passed with overwhelming support.
The first was a resolution to strengthen stewardship of the mauna and the second was to approve the latest draft of administrative rules regarding commercial and public use.
The resolution passed 9-0 with one regent abstaining. There are nine action items within the resolution laid out, including the decommissioning of five telescopes.
“In response to the testimony received, the regents also requested that the administration report back on what stakeholders would be involved in developing any reorganization and restructuring plan for the management of the mauna,” according to a press release from UH.
Regents voted unanimously in favor of the proposed administrative rules with one amendment, eliminating the requirement that groups of 10 or more must register before entering UH-managed areas.
The rules now advance through the remainder of the administrative rules process to Gov. David Ige for final approval.
The rules may found under section 20-26-1. They are available to be viewed on page 627 of the Board of Regents Meeting Materials but do not yet reflect the elimination of the section regarding groups registration.
The rules are a result of consultation with public outreach among all stakeholders to Maunakea, including Hawaiian organizations, Hawaiʻi Island business organizations, commercial tour operators and government agencies including Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Department of Land and Natural Resources, the Office of Hawaiʻi County Mayor. Maunakea Management Board and Kahu Kū Mauna.
The purpose of the rules, the release states, is to “provide for the proper use, management, and protection of cultural, natural, and scientific resources of the UH management areas; to promote public safety and welfare by regulating public and commercial activity within the UH management areas; to ensure safe and appropriate access to the UH management areas for the public; and to foster co-management with the department of land and natural resources in UH management areas.”
The current rules making process started in early 2018. The first round of four public hearings on the initial draft was held in September 2018 on Hawaiʻi Island, Maui, and Oʻahu. A revised draft was prepared based on the comments and concerns received during those public hearings and shared with stakeholder groups and the public during a three-month, informal outreach process that began in January 2019.
A second round of four public hearings was held in June 2019 on Hawaiʻi Island, Maui, and Oʻahu. The draft that was approved by the regents included revisions based on 738 written submissions collected, and 225 oral testifiers recorded, during the two rounds of formal public hearings in 2018 and 2019.