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Mauna Kea management bill heads to Hawaii House, Senate

April 30, 2022 GMT

HONOLULU (AP) — A committee of Hawaii senators and representatives on Friday agreed on legislation creating new management for Mauna Kea, the site of some of the world’s most advanced telescopes and demonstrations against the construction of a new observatory.

An amended bill agreed to in a conference committee heads to the full House and Senate for votes next week.

The legislation aims to give Native Hawaiians a role in managing Mauna Kea while allowing astronomy research to continue on the mountain.

The University of Hawaii currently manages Mauna Kea’s summit lands.

The legislation creates a five-year transition period during which the new governing body will co-manage the area with the University of Hawaii. After that, the new authority will be the sole manager.

The bill says the new stewardship and oversight authority will have 11 voting members, including eight appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate.

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The appointees would include one descendant of a practitioner of Native Hawaiian traditions and customs associated with Mauna Kea and one recognized practitioner of Native Hawaiian traditions and customs.

One appointee would be selected from a list of three names submitted by Maunakea Observatories, a consortium of telescopes at the summit.