Media Contact: Thomas Mullen
Phone: (310) 795-4196
E-mail: [email protected]
MARCH 16, 2018
LOS ANGELES - SmartComment is providing its software platform to manage the public comments for a University of Hawaii proposal to continue long-term astronomy activities at the top of Mauna Kea on the island of Hawaii.
The university's existing easement and leases for the Mauna Kea Science Reserve Center are set to expire in 2033. The future of the leases are the subject of a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which is exploring three options: new authorization for the same area, authorizing leases for a reduced land area, or allowing the leases to expire.
A public comment period for the EIS is open until March 27, with three public hearings this month in Waimea, Hilo and Honolulu, and electronic comments being accepted online. The 11,288-acre Mauna Kea Science Reserve Center includes 13 working telescopes, including the largest optical/infrared telescopes in the world, the largest dedicated infrared telescope, and the largest submillimeter telescope in the world.
The University of Hawaii and its consultants at Planning Solutions are using SmartComment to accept the public's proposal-related comments, which can then be organized by topic, analyzed, and responded to via an integrated digital framework connecting relevant project team members.
"SmartComment was built precisely for sensitive reviews like this, which must take into account not only the scientific and societal benefits of the project, but also the surrounding environment and input from the area's citizens," said Tim Mullen, co-founder of Los Angeles-based SmartComment. "We look forward to our role in helping the University of Hawaii engage with the public on this proposal so that they can fully understand and incorporate the important input they receive."
SmartComment provides a powerful online platform that allows agencies and organizations to efficiently manage multiple public comment periods, as well as analyze and maintain the components of each one. Besides providing a website set up specifically for each project, SmartComment's powerful suite of tools allows clients to organize comments by topic, location, and other criteria, and to efficiently respond to them. SmartComment has brought increased accessibility and transparency to a number of high-profile projects, including the Nanushuk oil discovery in Alaska, the Dallas to Houston High-Speed Rail project, and numerous state and federal transportation projects. It also provides ongoing public comment support to a number of agencies and organizations, including the Washington State Department of Ecology, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, and the Delaware River Basin Commission.