The University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents adopted a resolution directing UH leadership to strengthen its stewardship of Maunakea. The resolution lists 11 action items and a timeframe for completion. The action was approved by a 9–0 vote, with one regent abstaining, at a November 6, special board meeting on the UH Hilo campus.
In response to the testimony received, the regents also requested that the administration report back on what stakeholders would be involved in developing any reorganization and restructuring plan for the management of the mauna.
Here is the text of the resolution:
To Act on Items Relating to Maunakea Management
WHEREAS, the Board of Regents believes and acknowledges that Maunakea holds a special and important place in the history, culture, and hearts of the peoples of Native Hawaiian ancestry and all of Hawaiʻi; and
WHEREAS, Maunakea has become a symbol of Native Hawaiian self-determination; and
WHEREAS, the Board of Regents recognizes that the University of Hawaiʻi (“University”) has been criticized for past and present management of Maunakea; and
WHEREAS, the Board of Regents realizes that any mismanagement of Maunakea is hurtful and disrespectful to the sanctity and inviolability of this place to Native Hawaiians and others; and
WHEREAS, the Board of Regents in response to past criticisms, has clarified its roles, duties, and responsibilities beginning with the adoption of the Mauna Kea Science Reserve Master Plan (2000), Mauna Kea Comprehensive Management Plan UH Management Areas (2009), A Cultural Resources Management Plan for the University of Hawaiʻi Management Areas on Mauna Kea (2009), Natural Resources Management Plan for the UH Management Areas on Mauna Kea (2009), Public Access Plan for the UH Management areas on Mauna Kea (2010), and Decommissioning Plan for the Mauna Kea Observatories (2010) (collectively hereinafter referred to as “Management Plans”); and
WHEREAS, under said Management Plans, the Board of Regents was principally responsible to fulfill and to carry out all of the recommendations, obligations, and duties promulgated under said Management Plans; and
WHEREAS, the Board of Regents takes its responsibility seriously and hereby affirms its commitment to follow through with the recommendations made in the Management Plans to better manage the impacts of the astronomy facilities and operations upon the natural environment, cultural resources, recreational resources, educational resources, and upon the broader community; and
WHEREAS, the Board of Regents has determined that there remain unmet responsibilities and ongoing compliance issues that have delayed completion of certain recommendations and requirements under the Management Plans; and
WHEREAS, THE Board of Regents therefore desires to remove any delays in compliance and to complete ongoing responsibilities in an accelerated and expeditious manner.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that University of Hawaiʻi President David Lassner, University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Chancellor Bonnie Irwin, University of Hawaiʻi Vice President Vassilis Syrmos, Maunakea Support Services (MKSS), Institute for Astronomy (IfA), Office of Maunakea Management (OMKM), and any other necessary, related management or operation entity be directed to cause the following action items to be accomplished in the timeframes as specified herein below:
- Two (2) observatory sites known as the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory and Hokukea site shall be decommissioned no later than December 31, 2021. For purposes of this resolution, the term “decommissioning” shall mean the complete removal of all man-made structures at each respective site bringing each site to as close as feasible to its natural state prior to construction. These will be the first two of five observatories to be decommissioned.
- A schedule of decommissioning of these two sites will be laid out on a Gantt chart or other similar visual schedule for each of the above sites indicating function and timeframe for each major step in the decommissioning process to achieve completion on or by December 31, 2021. The schedule for decommissioning shall be presented to the Board of Regents on or before its February 2020 meeting.
- A new educational telescope facility for the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo shall be established on already developed land at Hale Pohaku or elsewhere, as soon as can be permitted, with a target date no later than December 31, 2021, to ensure the prompt availability of a teaching telescope. The Board of Regents shall support the funding of the planning, design, and construction of the new educational facility.
- On or by December 30, 2025, a determination will be made on the decommissioning of three (3) additional observatory sites based upon compliance with existing or future permits or governmental approvals. If decommissioning is required, the three (3) observatory sites will be identified and reported to the Board of Regents by January 2026.
- In collaboration with OMKM and MKSS, the ʻImiloa Astronomy Center shall develop a suite of educational programs regarding Maunakea including but not limited to Native Hawaiian culture, history, environmental, and biological considerations designed for tour guides and drivers, employees, contractors, recreational users, scientists and observatory workers, and visitors, as required by the Management Plans, by August 31, 2020. OMKM shall report to the Board of Regents on its plans and progress to implement said educational programs at its February 2020 meeting. Administration shall make a budget request during the 2020 legislative session to fund this action item.
- Administration shall make a CIP request during the 2020 legislative session for monies to plan, design, and construct an educational center at Hale Pohaku and/or another appropriate site on Maunakea that will educate visitors on cultural, environmental, and astronomy related topics relating to Maunakea.
- The Maunakea Master Plan update will accommodate uses by Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners.
- A reorganization and restructuring plan shall be presented to the Board of Regents as to all advisory, operating, and funding bodies involved in the management of Maunakea by April 2020. The purpose of the plan is to improve operations and management and make it more efficient, effective and transparent. The analysis will include consultation with the Maunakea Management Board, Kahu Kū Mauna and appropriate members of the Hawaii Island community. The reorganization and restructuring plan shall be embodied into a governance document that is approved by the Board of Regents
- As part of the reorganization and restructuring plan, an in-depth analysis will be done to determine whether the management of the Maunakea Science Reserve would be better served if transferred to a governmental authority or other third party entity, or through alternate management mechanisms (e.g., conservation easement agreement, etc.). The analysis will include consultation with the Maunakea Management Board, Kahu Kū Mauna and appropriate members of the Hawaii Island community. The results of this analysis will be presented to the Board of Regents by April 2020.
- The University will cooperate with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) to resolve any outstanding issues relating to the roadway infrastructure on Maunakea and will seek opportunities to assist DHHL in its efforts to fulfill its trust duties and responsibilities on the use of its Maunakea lands.
- As permitted by law, the University should pursue a partnership with an appropriate agency or organization whose primary beneficiary is the Native Hawaiian community, to operate commercial shuttles and tours on Maunakea.
Adopted by the Board of Regents University of Hawaiʻi
Wednesday, November 6, 2019
The resolution was drafted by the BOR Maunakea Governance Permitted Interaction Group formed in August 2019 and is intended to be dissolved following submission of its report and a proposed resolution to the BOR for its consideration. It was amended at the meeting after taking the testimony and regents taking stakeholder concerns into consideration.
The Maunakea Governance Permitted Interaction Group consisted of six regents, proposed the resolution after engaging with university administration, government officials and outside advisors and looked into issues related to the university’s stewardship and governance activities on Maunakea.