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University of Hawaii at Hilo to host online meeting on upcoming Mauna Kea telescope decommission

  • COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII
                                The Hoku Ke’a telescope is one of two scheduled to be decommissioned within the next few years, according the UH-Hilo.

    COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII

    The Hoku Ke’a telescope is one of two scheduled to be decommissioned within the next few years, according the UH-Hilo.

The University of Hawaii at Hilo will host an online public meeting to discuss the draft environmental assessment (DEA) for the decommissioning of the Hoku Ke’a telescope from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday.

A DEA is required under Hawaii environmental law for proposed uses of state lands or funds and uses within the state conservation district. The Hoku Ke’a decommissioning plan reviewed in the DEA includes the safe and proper removal of two buildings and supporting infrastructure from the slopes of Mauna Kea, as well as restoration of the site to its original state as much as possible.

A public notice requesting comments on the Hoku Ke’a decommissioning DEA was posted Sept. 9. Individuals interested in taking part in this week’s online meeting can sign up at hokukea.konveio.com.

The meeting will include a presentation with UH-Hilo Center for Maunakea Stewardship Executive Director Greg Chun and officials with SSFM, the consulting company hired for the project planning and design, along with a question-and-answer session.

Those who participate in the virutal meeting are asked to provide comments by Oct. 8. After the DEA process is complete, the Department of Land and Natural Resources will process and issue a conservation district use permit.

The Hoku Ke’a project is tentatively scheduled to be completed by late 2023; the site will not be used for astronomy purposes again. It is one of two telescopes atop Mauna Kea in the process of being decommissioned, with the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory (CSO) posting its DEA for decommissioning on Sept. 8 and tentatively scheduled to be decommissioned in late 2023.

The University of Hawaii said it has committed to no more than nine operating astronomy facilities on the summit of Mauna Kea by December 31, 2033.

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