The University of Hawaii Board of Regents will consider a new draft of rules to govern public and commercial activities on Mauna Kea at a meeting Aug. 30.
The meeting, first scheduled for July 18, had already been postponed once until Aug. 22 and is being pushed back again. An announcement from the university said it was rescheduled in “an effort to accommodate increased public interest on the proposed rules.”
At the regents’ last meeting on July 18, UH President David Lassner addressed the controversy over the Thirty Meter Telescope during his president’s report. He expressed his deep respect for those who “use peaceful nonviolence as a tool for change” as well as for law enforcement officers on the mountain.
“Yesterday was one of the most difficult days of my presidency, beginning with the heartbreaking arrests of kupuna on the mountain, then the call from the UH Hawaiian Studies Department for my resignation…” he said.
“There is no doubt what is happening on Mauna Kea is creating deep rifts on our campuses and beyond,” he said. “There are no easy answers… I will be doing all I can in the days, months and years ahead to try to keep us together on these issues where we can agree, while trying to keep the rifts from damaging even more our ability to achieve our core mission as the University of Hawaii in service to all the people of Hawaii.”
The latest draft of the administrative rules for UH-managed lands on Mauna Kea will be posted at least six days before the meeting. The public can testify in writing and in person. The location and timing of the meeting is yet to be determined but also will be posted.
The rules have had various opportunities for public input. The first round of four public hearings took place in September 2018 on Hawaii island, Maui, and Oahu. Based on input from those meetings, a revised draft was prepared. That draft was shared with stakeholder groups and the public through an informal outreach process from January to March.
The second round of four public hearings on that draft was held in June on Hawaii island, Maui and Oahu. The latest draft incorporates revisions based on comments from those meetings. The regents could approve the rules, call for more hearings or defer the decision. Ultimately, the rules will go to Gov. David Ige for approval.