Gov. David Ige and top lawmakers are looking for candidates to serve on the new governing authority for Mauna Kea according to a law that removes oversight of the state’s tallest mountain from the University of Hawaii.

The search for the Mauna Kea Stewardship and Oversight Committee begins amid concern about the future of astronomy on the mountain, which has been the center of past protests by many Native Hawaiians who consider its summit sacred.

“I encourage people who have the expertise and commitment needed to shift to a community-based governance model for one of the state’s great natural resources to apply as quickly as possible,” Ige said in a news release sent Thursday. “Together, we can continue Hawaii’s momentum toward a strong and sustainable future.”

The new law, which will end the University of Hawaii’s stewardship of the peak after a five-year transition period, was a legislative compromise that included a promise to keep supporting astronomy as a state policy. It calls for an 11-member committee to serve three-year terms.

Members will include representatives from the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Hawaii island County, current or former members of the UH Board of Regents, Native Hawaiians and the observatories that have telescopes on the mountain.

The House speaker and Senate president would select two additional members.

The deadline to apply, which was originally July 28, has been extended to Aug. 8.

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