(BIVN) – Once again, a House Bill making its way through the Senate has been completely altered to take aim at Mauna Kea management practices.
HB1585 HD1 SD2 previously proposed to eliminate the University of Hawaii’s deferred maintenance backlog by funding staff positions for the implementation of capital improvement projects. But the bill has been “gutted and replaced” in favor of an audit of UH activities related to Mauna Kea.
The astronomy community is sounding the alarm, because the bill appears to threaten any new construction on the mountain, which they fear could include the Thirty Meter Telescope.
According to the new description of the bill:
Requires the Auditor to conduct a financial, performance, and management audit of the University of Hawaii’s activities related to Mauna Kea. Requires the University of Hawaii Board of Regents to adopt rules to regulate public and commercial activities on Mauna Kea lands. Requires the University of Hawaii Office of Maunakea Management to complete the management actions established by the various comprehensive management plans, complete an environmental impact statement for land authorizations regarding long-term continuation of astronomy within the Mauna Kea science reserve area, and secure a new master lease regarding Mauna Kea. Prohibits all construction at Mauna Kea until the requirements of the measure are met.
The sudden action is reminiscent of the gut-and-replace of HB1985, which previously related to public lands, now replaced with an altered version of the controversial Senate Bill 3090, which proposed a new Mauna Kea Management Authority. A hearing on that bill was held last week and the bill was advanced to the full senate.
Here is the full language of new Mauna Kea audit bill HB1585 HD1 SD2:
SECTION 1. (a) The auditor, with regard to the University of Hawaii’s activities related to Mauna Kea, shall:
(1) Conduct a financial audit of the office of Mauna Kea management, reviewing all revenues and expenditures, the Mauna Kea land management special fund, commercial tour operations, and all appropriations from the University of Hawaii at Hilo for operations and staffing for the period of 2010 through 2017;
(2) Conduct a performance audit of the research corporation of the University of Hawaii, as it relates to the Mauna Kea observatory support services and the Mauna Kea observatories and all grants, revenues, expenditures, and funding of personnel, as it relates to those organizations, evaluating its efficiency and whether or not they are effectively utilizing best practice operations;
(3) Conduct a performance audit on the University of Hawaii system, limited to the legal affairs and the university general counsel office, as it relates to all revenues and expenditures associated with the research and training revolving fund, as it relates to Mauna Kea since 2010, as well as determining whether or not patents and revenue-generating patents exist, as it relates to scientific technologies associated with the international observatories and the University of Hawaii institute for astronomy, as a result of ground-based astronomical observations and discoveries; and
(4) Conduct an organizational management structure audit of the multiple governmental and non-governmental agencies and entities that have jurisdictional authority on Mauna Kea, evaluating its efficiency and whether or not they are effectively utilizing best practice operations and have clear lines of authority.
(b) The auditor shall have all the powers established pursuant to chapter 23, Hawaii Revised Statutes, including the power to subpoena any related licenses, grants, commercial activities, patents, intellectual property, and astronomical observation time at the University of Hawaii related to Mauna Kea, and anyone who has a financial interest in Mauna Kea permitted by state law.
SECTION 2. The auditor shall submit a report of its findings and any recommendations, including any proposed legislation, to the legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the regular session of 2020.
SECTION 3. There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $200,000 or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2018-2019 for the auditor to conduct the audit of the University of Hawaii’s activities related to Mauna Kea pursuant to this Act.
The sum appropriated shall be expended by the office of the auditor for the purposes of this Act.
SECTION 4. Section 304A-1903, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
§304A-1903[ ]] Mauna Kea lands[ ;[ ]] rules. The board of regents [ may] shall adopt rules pursuant to chapter 91 to regulate public and commercial activities on Mauna Kea lands.
In adopting these rules, the board shall:
(1) Strive for consistency with the administrative rules of the division of forestry and wildlife of the department of land and natural resources related to forest reserves and natural area reserves;
(2) Consult with the office of Hawaiian affairs to ensure that these rules shall not affect any right, customarily and traditionally exercised for subsistence, cultural, and religious purposes and possessed by ahupuaa tenants who are descendants of native Hawaiians who inhabited the Hawaiian Islands prior to 1778, subject to the right of the State to regulate such rights; and
(3) Hold at least one public hearing, in addition to the public hearing at which decision-making on the proposed rule is made, on the island of Hawaii.”
SECTION 5. The University of Hawaii office of Maunakea management shall:
(1) Implement all management actions identified in the following documents:
(A) Mauna Kea comprehensive management plan, dated April 2009; and
(B) Implementing and evaluating the comprehensive management plan for University of Hawaii managed lands on Mauna Kea, dated February 2010;
(2) Complete an environmental impact statement pursuant to chapter 343, Hawaii Revised Statutes, for land authorizations regarding long-term continuation of astronomy within the Mauna Kea science reserve area; and
(3) Secure a new master lease that extends beyond December 31, 2033, from the State of Hawaii for the continued land authorization of the Mauna Kea science reserve area.
SECTION 6. All construction within the Mauna Kea science reserve area is prohibited; provided that this section shall not apply after a proclamation is issued by the governor that the:
(1) Auditor has submitted the report pursuant to part I of this Act;
(2) University of Hawaii has adopted rules pursuant to section 304A-1903, Hawaii Revised Statutes; and
(3) The office of Maunakea management has complied with the requirements established pursuant to section 5 of this Act.
For purposes of this section, “Mauna Kea science reserve area” shall mean the real property as described in Exhibit A to general lease no. S-4191, dated June 21, 1968, between the State of Hawaii and the University of Hawaii.
SECTION 7. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 8. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
The bill has passed through the Senate Ways and Means Committe with recommendation of passage on Third Reading at the full senate on April 10.
11 Senators on the WAM committee voted “aye” (Dela Cruz, Keith-Agaran, English, Galuteria, Inouye, K. Kahele, Kidani, Riviere, Shimabukuro, Wakai)