(BIVN) – Mayor Harry Kim testified on his vision for the future of Mauna Kea during a hearing in Honolulu on Monday, opposing a bill that would bring sweeping reform to the management of the mountain.
The Senate Committees on Higher Education and Water and Land held the first public discussion on the ambitious Senate Bill 3090:
SB3090 – RELATING TO GOVERNMENT
Establishes the Mauna Kea Management Authority. Limits the number of telescopes that may be authorized on Mauna Kea. Authorizes the renegotiation of leases, subleases, easements, permits, and licenses pertaining to Mauna Kea. Requires that revenue derived from activities on Mauna Kea be shared with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Provides that the Mauna Kea Management Authority may not alienate lands except as provided by law. Excludes Mauna Kea lands from the definition of “public lands.” Provides for free access to Mauna Kea for traditional cultural purposes. Establishes police powers and provides for enforcement of laws on land under the jurisdiction of the Mauna Kea Management Authority. (Proposed SD1)
Introducer(s): DELA CRUZ, ENGLISH, ESPERO, GALUTERIA, HARIMOTO, INOUYE, K. KAHELE, KEITH-AGARAN, KIDANI, KIM, NISHIHARA, SHIMABUKURO, WAKAI, S. Chang, K. Rhoads, Riviere, Taniguchi
Mayor Kim, with the blessing of Governor David Ige, has been working behind the scenes on putting together an advisory committee that will look into creating a peace park on the mountain. According to a report published in the Hawaii Tribune-Herald, Kim’s committee seeks to “review and reorganize” the mountain’s management authority, among other things. The present management authority is the University of Hawaii, which leases the lands from the Department of Land and Natural Resources. The Office of Mauna Kea Management, under UH, carries out the work.
“As much as I appreciate the interest this Legislature has in resolving issues surrounding management of our beautiful and sacred mountain, Mauna Kea, I cannot support SB 3090,” Kim stated in a letter sent to committee chairs Sen. Kai Kahele and Sen. Karl Rhoads in advance of Monday’s hearing. “I intend to be at your Monday hearing, and would be happy to answer any questions.”
“To a lot of people, Mauna Kea is not just a place for science, it is part of their soul,” Kim wrote. “If we are going to enter into that sacred space, we must do so with care, caution and, above all compassion. I respectfully request that the Legislature pause in its well-meaning efforts, for concern that it may complicate the issue even more so.”
Mayor Kim was afforded the opportunity to speak first at the Capitol auditorium hearing. He talked for about three minutes, reading the mission statement for his advisory committee. But once the time was up, Sen. Kahele began questioning the mayor on his efforts.