Public weighs in on proposed administrative rules for Maunakea
The hearing was held at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center, and is the first of four meetings scheduled for this week.
Dozens attended a public hearing, on Monday evening, to weigh in on a set of proposed rules meant to regulate public and commercial activities on UH-managed lands atop Maunakea. The hearing was held at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center, and is the first of four meetings scheduled for this week.
University of Hawaii (UH) says the administrative rules its asking the public to weigh in on, provides the opportunity to develop a set of tools to better manage and protect the resources on Hawaii's highest summit.
"The rules do not restrict access what it does is sets up a framework for the university to work with the public on developing the appropriate access management procedures," Maunakea senior advisor to the UH president, Greg Chun said.
But the majority of the dozen or so testifiers that spoke out, Monday, said they're in opposition. Some expressed issues with certain rules, while many pointed out that they're most concerned about the process.
"There are portions of the rules I agree with, but at the end of the day that's not really the most important issue.. which is that UH should not be the final say," Shelley Muneoka with Kahea—The Hawaiian/Environmental Alliance said.
Some that voiced they're opposition to the process referenced the controversial Thirty Meter Telescope, which is still in litigation of whether it will be built along side other telescopes on Maunakea.
"It also having that ancestral connection to land creates Kuleana and they don't have it," Andre Perez with the Hawaii Unity and Liberation Institute added.
"At the core of the university's responsibility when it comes to managing Maunakea is the protection of our cultural and natural resources as well as safety of the public," Chun said.
According to UH officials, the draft rules were developed after extensive community outreach that included publicly noticed meetings, open houses and consultation with the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the Small Business Regulatory Review Board. The university adds that the draft rules are consistent with those currently in place for similar lands managed by the state, including forest and natural area reserves.
UH says all testimony given will be taken into consideration as the rules are finalized.
The next hearing is Tuesday, September 25 at 5 p.m. at the 'Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai'i in Hilo. For a full list of the upcoming meetings, visit the "As Seen On Section" of KITV.com.