(BIVN) – Governor David Ige has approved and signed the administrative rules for land managed by the University of Hawai‘i on Mauna Kea, state officials say.
“With the opening of Mauna Kea Access Road and a return to normal activity on the mountain, I believe it is the right time to approve the rules,” said Gov. Ige in a media release. “I have personally observed that there was too much traffic on Mauna Kea and these rules will give the university the tools needed to better manage public and commercial access.”
“We are grateful to Gov. Ige and especially to all the stakeholders and members of the public who participated in the lengthy process,” said UH President David Lassner. “With the adoption of these rules, UH can now address the last of the remaining concerns of the State Auditor regarding our management of Mauna Kea.”
The controversial rules were adopted by the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents after a special, 11-hour meeting held in Hilo on November 6, 2019.
The rules were widely criticized in public hearings held across the state, and the final draft was no more popular. 99 people testified at the special meeting in Hilo, and most of them were not unhappy with the proposal. During the hearing, TMT opponent and kiaʻi Kealoha Pisciotta (video below) repeated her assertion that UH does not have rulemaking authority on Maunakea.
The Regents made one change to the rules before the adoption. They eliminated the requirement that groups of 10 or more must register before entering the UH-managed areas on the mountain.
“It is now time to utilize these rules to address the issues with excessive traffic that have been raised, as well as to issue new permits for commercial tour operations,” said UH Hilo Chancellor Bonnie Irwin, who is noted in the news release as having executive oversight responsibilities under the Master Plan and Comprehensive Management Plan for UH-managed lands on Mauna Kea. “We look forward to working with the community as we move forward.”
The rules were filed with the lieutenant governor’s office today and will take effect on January 23, 2020.