East Hawaii News

State House Maunakea Working Group Recommends Nine-Member Board to Oversee State-Managed Lands on Mauna

January 26, 2022, 7:30 AM HST
* Updated January 25, 6:38 PM
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The state House of Representatives’ Maunakea Working Group has submitted its final report to Hose Speaker Scott K. Saiki and is recommending the formation of a new board to oversee state-managed lands on the mountain.

The report recommends a nine-member board to manage lands on Maunakea above the 6,500-foot elevation line. The board, guided by Native Hawaiian values, would include government representatives, individuals with certain areas of expertise and Native Hawaiian community members.

While the astronomy community would not be directly represented on the board, an astronomy advisory group is to be established to provide advice and guidance to the new board. To ensure the protection and stewardship of Maunakea, the board would develop a framework to limit astronomy development on the mountain, including a plan to return the mauna above 9,200-foot elevation to its natural state.

The report also recommends prohibiting commercial use and activities above Hale Pōhaku.

In addition, an appropriate entryway to Maunakea would be established to capture information about users, establish an educational outreach post, collect fees and close access to the mountain in case of an emergency. An application, including a fee, would also be required for all recreational users of Maunakea.

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House Bill 2024 was introduced by Reps. Mark Nakashima, Ty Cullen, Stacelynn Eli and David Tarnas, who participated in the working group.

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“We encourage community members to express their thoughts about the proposal during the legislative session,” said Nakashima, chairman of the working group. The working group received hundreds of comments on its draft report.

The 15-member Maunakea Working Group was established by House Resolution 33, Session Laws of Hawaii 2021. It included legislators and key stakeholders, including seven Native Hawaiian community members.

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