Gov. David Ige has approved and signed the administrative rules for land managed by the University of Hawai'i on Maunakea. The rules were filed with the lieutenant governor's office and will take effect on Jan. 23.
The Board of Regents adopted the rules on Nov. 6, 2019 after an 11-hour meeting at UH Hilo, which featured 99 people testifying.
“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,” Ige said. “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.”
The purpose of the administrative rules, under HRS section 20-26-1, is to “provide for the proper use, management, and protection of cultural, natural, and scientific resources of the UH management areas; to promote public safety and welfare by regulating public and commercial activity within the UH management areas; to ensure safe and appropriate access to the UH management areas for the public; and to foster co-management with the Department of Land and Natural Resources in UH management areas.”
“We are grateful to Gov. Ige and especially to all the stakeholders and members of the public who participated in the lengthy process,” UH President David Lassner in a release. “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 university held a round of four public hearings on the initial draft in Sept. 2018 on Hawa'i Island, Maui and O'ahu. A revised draft was prepared based on the public's comments and concerns, and shared with stakeholder groups during a three-month, informal consultation process that started in January 2019.
A second round of four public hearings was held in June 2019 on Hawa'i Island, Maui and O'ahu.
The draft the BOR adopted included revisions based on 738 written submissions and 225 oral testimonies during the public hearings in 2018 and 2019.
“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,” UH Hilo Chancellor Bonnie Irwin said in a press release. “We look forward to working with the community as we move forward.”