No decision on Mauna Kea lease


The state Board of Land and Natural Resources deferred action on the University of Hawaii’s request for new leases on Mauna Kea on Friday.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Land and Natural Resources said the board chose to withhold a vote while UH conducts an environmental impact statement.

UH requested time to conduct an EIS in response to testimony from the Nov. 8 BLNR meeting, she said. It did not provide a timeline for how long that may take.

UH has two existing leases covering the Mauna Kea Science Reserve and Hale Pohaku Mid-Level Facilities.

They are set to expire in 2033 and 2041. The new leases UH has proposed would run through 2078.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources has recommended approval of the request but its Division of Historic Preservation and the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs had expressed reservations.

OHA has said it would like to see more environmental review before new leases are granted.

The board initially deferred action last month due to lack of a quorum.

UH officials made the request in order to help it negotiate subleases for current and future telescopes and meet management obligations provided by the state.

 

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