Public input sought in environmental process for Maunakea leases and easement

The public comments will help in the drafting the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed new land authorization.

Observatories on summit.
Subaru, Keck and NASA Telescopes. Maunakea Summit. Photo by Bob Linsdell.

The University of Hawaiʻi will be holding three open house meetings seeking public input on an Environmental Impact Statement Preparation Notice to replace the two existing leases and easement for UH managed lands on Maunakea. The EISPN was published in the February 23 issue of the Environmental Notice of the State Office of Environmental and Quality Control.

The public comments will help in the drafting the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed new land authorization. The open houses are scheduled for March 12 in Waimea, Hawaiʻi; March 13 in Hilo, Hawaiʻi and March 14 in Honolulu, Oʻahu (locations and times below). The public can submit comments via the online public comment form through March 27 or by regular mail (address below).

The UH lease for the 11,288-acre Mauna Kea Science Reserve expires in 2033, and a non-exclusive easement for the Mauna Kea Access Road, for about 71 acres, also expires in 2033. The lease for the 19-acre Halepōhaku mid-level facility expires in 2041.

The draft EIS will explore three options: 1) the leases and easement are allowed to expire, 2) UH receives a new authorization for a much reduced land area, or 3) UH receives a new authorization for the same areas. The three options and potentially additional alternatives based on input received during the EISPN review period will be evaluated in the Draft EIS. Once completed, the Draft EIS will go also go through a thorough public review process.

This effort builds upon the extensive community outreach that shaped the 2009 Mauna Kea Comprehensive Management Plan. The plan provides a framework for managing multiple existing and future activities, such as astronomy, recreational and commercial activities, scientific research, and cultural and religious activities.

Locations, dates and times for the upcoming open house meetings
  • Waimea: Monday, March 12, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Department of Hawaiian Homelands—Kūhiō Hale, 64-756 Māmalahoa Highway.
  • Hilo: Tuesday, March 13, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., ʻImiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaiʻi—Moanahoku Hall, 600 ʻImiloa Place.
  • Honolulu: Wednesday, March 14, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. UH Cancer Center, Sullivan Conference Center, 701 Ilalo Street.
Contact

Questions: (808) 933-0734.

Comments can be mailed to:

Maunakea Land Authorizations EIS
Office of Mauna Kea Management
200 W. Kāwili Street
Hilo, HI 96720

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