HONOLULU (KHON2) — A bill to create a group for Mauna Kea stewardship is heading toward a final vote in the state legislature.

The University of Hawaii will manage over 550 acres to include the astronomy precinct, Halepōhaku complex, and the Mauna Kea access road.

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The Mauna Kea Stewardship and Oversight Authority is responsible for the 9,450 acres of Mauna Kea under the state lease.

The bill creates an 11-member voting group to manage Mauna Kea with the University of Hawaii.

The voting members will be from the following areas.

  • Department of Land and Natural Resources
  • UH Board of Regents
  • Hawaii Island Mayor
  • Maunakea Observatories
  • Education
  • Business/finance experience
  • Land resource management
  • Two practitioners of native Hawaiian traditional and customary practices
  • Two members who shall be appointed by the governor from a list of three names submitted for each appointment by the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives.

A representative of the University of Hawaii at Hilo will be a nonvoting member.

We thank our state legislators for their hard work on the conference bill. We recognize
valuable alignment with the core principles the Maunakea Observatories have expressed in our
testimony on HB2024 throughout the legislative session, including the importance of inclusion
of the native Hawaiian community in decision-making for Maunakea. If this bill is signed into
law, we look forward to collaborating with the authority and participating to make it a success
for all. We are grateful to all parties for their ongoing efforts on the complex issues involved in
the future governance and management of Maunakea.

Hilton Lewis, Director of W. M. Keck Observatory

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The authority’s mission supports astronomy while preserving Mauna Kea.