(BIVN) – Virtual public meetings on the first two Maunakea telescope facilities to be removed under the 2010 Decommissioning Plan for Maunakea Observatories are set to take place this month.
Separate, virtual meetings are set for the removal of the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory, as well as the University of Hawaiʻi Hōkū Keʻa telescope.
The Hōkū Keʻa meeting will take place on Wednesday, September 22, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. To register, the University says visit the Hōkū Ke‘a Decommissioning Project web page at hokukea.konveio.com.
A Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) for the Hōkū Keʻa decommissioning has already been published. From the University of Hawaiʻi:
The meeting will include a presentation and question and answer session with UH Hilo Center for Maunakea Stewardship Executive Director Greg Chun and officials with SSFM, the consulting company hired for the project planning and design. Those who participate are asked to provide comments by October 8, 2021. The Environmental Notice provides links to submit comments and to view the official document.
A DEA is required under Hawaiʻi’s environmental laws for proposed uses of state lands or funds and uses within the state conservation district. The Hōkū Keʻa decommissioning plan reviewed in the DEA includes the safe and proper removal of two buildings and supporting infrastructure, and restoration of the site to its original state, as much as possible.
After the DEA process is complete, the Department of Land and Natural Resources will process and issue a conservation district use permit for the proposed actions. The project is tentatively scheduled to be completed by late 2023, and the site will not be used for astronomy purposes again.
Later in the month, three more virtual community meetings will be held on the proposed decommissioning on the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory, or CSO.
The California Institute of Technology has released its Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) on the removal of the CSO from the summit area of Maunakea, which could begin by Summer 2022.
The four options considered in the CSO DEA are:
- Complete removal/full restoration (Caltech’s preferred alternative);
- No action (an alternative that is recommended to be evaluated);
- Complete removal/moderate restoration; and
- Partial removal/moderate restoration.
“The public is invited to attend community meetings, which will be virtual due to continuing COVID-19 concerns,” a news release stated. “At the meetings, the proposed decommissioning will be described in detail and questions answered informally. Each meeting will present the same information,” and are scheduled for:
- Tuesday, September 28th, at 11:30 a.m.;
- Wednesday, September 29th, at 4:30 p.m.; and
- Thursday, September 30th, at 6:00 p.m.
On the day of the meetings, a link to join will become live at cso.caltech.edu.
The 30-day public comment period on the CSO DEA is currently underway. The deadline for comments is October 8, 2021.