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A push to remove the University of Hawaii from managing Mauna Kea is in motion

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HONOLULU -

A push to remove the University of Hawaii from managing Mauna Kea is in motion. 

The current managing entity has been at the center of heated protests about the construction of a Thirty Meter Telescope.

UH tells Island News, it strongly opposes the bill. 

"I know that the University of Hawaii is the target of this bill but quite honestly, we embrace the effort and we want to take part of these conversations. We are committed to collaborative stewardship and these conversations they need to happen," Dan Meisenzahl, UH spokesman said. 

Under the measure, a nine-member governor appointed board would include three people from the Native Hawaiian community. 

Sen. Kai Kahele says the current board was slammed in four scathing audits that date back to 1998. 

Kahele says the new governing board would be tasked with granting the renegotiation of leases and permits. 

It also calls for an increase in commercial activity fees on the mountain. 

"All revenue whether it's commercial tours, whether it's charging for access to Mauna Kea or revenue generated from the ground lease, rent that the telescope should be paying, fair market value, all of those revenue should go to ultimately the Office of Hawaiian Affairs but it should also go to native Hawaiians," Kahele said. 

Kahele says fees collected would be similar to what's being done at Hanauma Bay or Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. 

UH says it's committed to paving a path where culture and astronomy can co-exist. 

Something Kahele believes, as well. 

"Our ancestors were the greatest navigators in the world. They navigated by the stars. I always wondered what they would do if they had the possibility or the potential to look at the stars through a telescope," Kahele said. 

A public hearing on the bill is scheduled for Monday at 1:15 p.m., before the Senate committees: Higher Education and Water and Land.

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