Testify in person or via email ASAP on new rules for Mauna Kea

KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance is working in communities around our islands to protect Hawaii’s native landscapes, sacred places and unique way of life. www.kahea.org

Aloha e Jim ,

In the midst of an almost four months-long stand on Mauna Kea, the University Board of Regents is meeting to vote on two items that will affect the future of Mauna Kea on Wednesday November 6, 2019, 9:45 a.m. at UH Hilo Performing Arts Center, on the Hilo campus.

WRITTEN COMMENTS MUST BE SUBMITTED BY TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 2019 AT 9:45 A.M. Please visit our click and send page to submit your testimony today!

We’re asking you to oppose BOTH items.(1) adopting rules that restrict access and use of Mauna Kea summit lands and implement a vague permitting system for the access that it does allow. The rules apply to the public, but not University or observatory personnel, or government entities (Agenda item no. III.A)

(2) Passing a twelve point resolution on twelve Mauna Kea management steps with a supporting budget (Agenda item no. III.B)

The newest draft of the proposed rules are available here, under Item III.B (PDF page 627). Testimony sign-up is at 9:30am, but the Regents call for further testimony at the end of the signed-in testifiers.

Talking points on the University’s proposed rules

  • The rules restrict access and use of Mauna Kea lands for everyone except the University, the observatories, and government officials, when it was the observatories and the University who were primarily responsible for littering and misuse that required rules in the first place.
  • Group permitting requiring 15 days advance notice and other documentation would effectively prohibit peaceful demonstrators from assembling on the mauna to prevent construction of the Thirty-Meter Telescope
  • The rules would ban being on the mauna at night without a special permit — making it harder for the practice of traditional celestial observation to continue.
  • A first violation of rules could result in a fine as high as $400 or result in being immediately expelled from the area
  • The UH President is given too much power that includes but is not limited to the power to:
    • close or restrict access to all or some of the UH managed areas
    • approve or deny permit applications
    • impose fines for permit violations
    • approve DLNR activities (all of which are exempt from the permitting process)
    • decide the extent of commercial activity on the mauna via the number of available commercial permits
    • appoint (or be!) a hearing officer in a contested case if someone would like to contest a citation they received

Talking points on the University 12-point resolution!

The resolution repackages old promises and presents them as evidence of a new management direction. Re-promising to do things that the University already said it was likely to do anyway in its 2000 “Master Plan” is not the main problem. The problem is that, alongside these supposed concessions to good management, the resolution includes two new actions: relocation of the Hōkū Keʻa to “already developed land” by Hale Pōhaku and construction of a new educational center at Hale Pōhaku. The University’s proposal for more urban sprawl across the wao akua is contrary to what the Kia`i Mauna have been asking for. Talking points against the 12-point resolution include:

  • The continued expansion of Hale Pohaku and increase in visitor numbers is inappropriate for a conservation district and the wao akua that Mauna Kea is.
  • Since at least 2000, the University has identified five telescopes for decommissioning “within the next 20 years” and the renewed promise in 2019 to do so by 2033 does not account for this past broken promise.

Weʻve been following the management rulemaking process for over a year now. For more context click here to read comments that we submitted last June, last September and this March. While some of the specific details have changed between drafts, our main concerns have not been addressed — they still overregulate Hawaiian practices and do nothing to limit the impact of the observatories (which are the real threat) on the mauna.

PC: Laulani Teale

Things You Can Do:

  • Attend the November 6, 2019 hearing in person at UH Hilo Performing Arts Center at 9:45 am. Here is the agenda and the Board of Regents meeting documents.
  • Submit your written comments to bor.testimony@hawaii.edu by Tuesday, November 5th at 9:45 a.m. or click here to use a template with some sample language to get you started or you can simply sign and send!
  • Link to this page on social media to get friends and family to do the same!
  • Donate now to help us continue this work!

Mahalo nui for the work you do to protect Hawai`i!
Me ke aloha,
2019 KAHEA Board and Staff

Our mailing address is:
PO Box 37368
Honolulu, Hawai’i 96837

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