HONOLULU (KHON2) — In a House Chamber meeting on Tuesday, House Speaker Scott Saiki called for an end to University of Hawaii’s management of Maunakea.

Get news on the go with KHON 2GO, KHON’s morning podcast, every morning at 8

In his speech, the speaker announced that the house would be looking into legislation that pushes for a new governance structure of Maunakea. The University of Hawaii, who conducts astronomy research atop the mauna, currently holds a master lease of the land. That lease is set to expire in 2033.

“The University of Hawaii has held the master lease to manage the astronomy precinct and the natural, cultural and preservation area since 1968,” said Speaker Saiki. “The master lease is set to expire in 2033 and the University is currently working to extend it. The University has tried to manage Maunakea, but for too long the University’s work has been shrouded by its inability to appropriately manage cultural practices, resources and education. This is why the University of Hawaii must no longer manage Maunakea and it should cease its work to extend the master lease.”

In a news release sent out just one day after the speaker’s announcement, the University said it will continue to work to improve stewardship of Maunakea but that it believes a new governance is not the answer.

“The University of Hawaii remains steadfast in its commitment to continue to improve stewardship of Maunakea. The University is willing to work with anyone to honor that commitment, which includes considering different governance structures,” said a spokesperson for the University.

The University says the legislature has proposed similar ideas in the past with no real result stemming from them, except for hindering the efforts of the observatories to secure proper sponsorship and funding for continued astronomy research.

“It will take substantial time to reach an agreement on a new approach, if that can be done. If a new organization is recommended, it will need to be created and funded, and even if it already exists it will have substantial work to complete the necessary plans, assessments and approvals,” UH said.

In its commentary, the University added that those who oppose the development of the thirty meter telescope on Maunakea will most likely continue to oppose it regardless of a new governance or land manager. UH highlighted past achievements, including an internal restructuring and community outreach, that the school says shows responsible stewardship of Maunakea.

Meanwhile, Speaker Saiki says the legislature will work with advocacy group, Ku Kia’i Maunakea, in its efforts to pursue a new governance.

To read the University of Hawaii’s full news release, click here.