(BIVN) – The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo is moving forward with a plan to decommission the Hōkū Keʻa telescope from the summit of Maunakea, and is alerting the public that it is seeking input on the process.
The University issued a media release on Wednesday, saying that the public feedback “will be used to develop a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) and a Site Decommissioning Plan (SDP) required by the Maunakea Comprehensive Management Plan for UH-managed lands.”
Decommissioning includes the deconstruction and removal of the telescope facility and the restoration of the site. Alternatives to be considered include:
- No Action, or abandon in place
- Removal of all buildings and abandon in place foundations and utilities below existing grade
- Removal of all buildings and foundations, partial removal of utilities
- Complete removal of all buildings, foundations, and utilities
SSFM International Inc. has been retained to develop the draft EA and SDP, and the consultants are asking the public to submit written comments by July 17.
Those wishing to weigh-in on the Hōkū Keʻa decommissioning can send written comments to:
SSFM International, Inc.
Attn: Jennifer Scheffel
99 Aupuni Street, Suite 202
Hilo, Hawaiʻi 96720
Or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The university says there will be other opportunities for public feedback during the extensive decommissioning process. UH stated:
The Maunakea Management Board approved UH Hilo’s Notice of Intent to decommission Hōkū Keʻa on February 18, 2020, with the condition that the university simultaneously proceed with the planning and permitting for a new educational telescope for UH Hilo students and the Hawaiʻi Island community. Planning and permitting for a new educational telescope is a separate process that will also include identifying a location.
Hōkū Keʻa is one of the first two telescopes set to be decommissioned on UH-managed Maunakea lands. The decommissioning of Hōkū Keʻa is anticipated to be completed in mid-to-late 2023.
The decommissioning of the second Maunakea telescope, California Institute of Technology Submillimeter Observatory (CSO), is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2021 and the restoration of the site to be completed by mid-to-late 2022. CSO is currently drafting its site decommissioning plan.