Friday, May 22, 2020

Nothing to do with telescope?

The University of Hawaii is the management agency for the Mauna Kea site on which existing telescopes sit, and which the proposed TMT would sit if built. In theory, as the item below indicates, the management of the site is not the same thing as the question of whether TMT should be built. But is it really plausible that the two issues are totally unrelated? To yours truly, the answer is obvious.

In any case, here is the item referred to above:

From Big Island Video NewsThe State of Hawaiʻi and the University of Hawaiʻi will both be taking a separate look at the university’s compliance with the Maunakea Comprehensive Management Plan, the document that governs the continued use of the summit for astronomy purposes.

The Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources said on Friday that it is beginning a parallel review of the UH compliance with the Maunakea CMP, apart from the mandatory 5-year review of the same plan that the university will also undertake. Here is the full media release from the Hawaiʻi DLNR:
In order to provide the DLNR and the Board of Land and Natural Resources relevant information, including community input, into whether Mauna Kea is being effectively managed, the department is launching an independent evaluation of the University of Hawai‘i’s (UH) compliance with the Mauna Kea Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP).

According to DLNR Chair Suzanne Case this evaluation will parallel the mandatory five-year review of the Comprehensive Management Plan currently underway by UH. The review will evaluate the efficiency of UH management and specifically its Office of Mauna Kea Management (OMKM). The DLNR review will also include an assessment of the governance structure in managing the cultural and natural resources within areas on the mountain for which UH/OMKM are responsible.

Case remarked, “This process will ensure a thorough review that includes multiple points of view and provides an independent evaluation for the Land Board.”

UH leases approximately 11,000 acres of State lands on Mauna Kea, of which 525 acres is in the Astronomy Precinct and 10,700 acres are designated as Natural/Cultural Preservation Area. The Comprehensive Management Plan covers all of the UH leased land.

DLNR has contracted with Ku‘iwalu Consulting for the review. It will include a culturally sensitive and robust community engagement process to gather as much input as possible on UH’s implementation of the Comprehensive Management Plan. This input will be incorporated into the report.

UH is seeking renewal of its 65-year-long lease. Its current Comprehensive Management Plan was approved by the Board of Land and Natural Resources in 2009. The DLNR review is expected to be completed by the end of this calendar year. Chair Case notes that the independent evaluation is not a report on the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT).

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