HILO — Gov. David Ige on Monday approved a controversial series of administrative rules governing the University of Hawaii’s Maunakea land management practices.
The rules codify the university’s policies regarding how it manages its leased lands on Maunakea and establish limits on visitors’ behavior. The rules will go into effect Jan. 23.
Ige’s approval comes two months after an extended meeting by the UH Board of Regents in November, where 99 testifiers condemned the proposed rules for more than 11 hours.
Opposition to the rules largely stemmed from the possibility that they could interfere with the rights of Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners, dovetailing with the ongoing protests against the state’s efforts to build the Thirty Meter Telescope on Maunakea.
The Board of Regents approved the rules with minor amendments in response to those criticisms.
“With the opening of Maunakea Access Road and a return to normal activity on the mountain, I believe it is the right time to approve the rules,” Ige said in a statement. “I have personally observed that there was too much traffic on Maunakea and these rules will give the university the tools needed to better manage public and commercial access.”