§195D-22 Safe harbor agreements. (a) To encourage landowners to voluntarily engage in efforts that benefit endangered, threatened, proposed, and candidate species, except as otherwise provided by law, the board, upon approval by not less than two-thirds of the board's authorized membership, after a public hearing on the island affected, may enter into a safe harbor agreement with one or more landowners to create, restore, or improve habitats or to maintain currently unoccupied habitats that threatened or endangered species can be reasonably expected to use, if the board determines that the cumulative activities, if any, contemplated to be undertaken within the areas covered by the agreement are environmentally beneficial. In the event the board votes to enter into a safe harbor agreement for which the majority of the endangered species recovery committee recommended disapproval, the board may not enter into the safe harbor agreement unless the agreement is approved by a two-thirds majority vote of both houses of the legislature. The board shall notify the public of the proposed safe harbor agreement through the periodic bulletin of the office of environmental quality control and make the proposed agreement available for public review and comment not less than sixty days prior to approval.
(b) A safe harbor agreement may authorize the take of an endangered, threatened, proposed, or candidate species incidental to an otherwise lawful activity in or affecting the created, restored, maintained, or improved habitat; provided that based on the best scientific and other reliable data available at the time the safe harbor agreement is approved, if these data are applicable:
(1) The take would not jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered, threatened, proposed, or candidate species;
(2) The take would not reduce the population of endangered, threatened, proposed, or candidate species below the number found on the property prior to entering into the agreement;
(3) The agreement proposes to create, restore, maintain, or improve significant amounts of habitat for a minimum of five years for private lands and for a minimum of fifteen years for public lands;
(4) There is adequate funding for the agreement and the source of that funding is identified;
(5) The safe harbor agreement increases the likelihood that the endangered or threatened species for which a take is authorized will recover;
(6) Any take authorized pursuant to this subsection shall occur only in the habitat created, restored, maintained, or improved; and
(7) The cumulative impact of the activity, which is permitted and facilitated by the take, provides net environmental benefits.
(c) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, the board shall suspend or rescind any safe harbor agreement approved under this section if the board determines that:
(1) Any parties to the safe harbor agreement, or their successors, have breached their obligations under the safe harbor agreement or under any other agreement implementing the safe harbor agreement and have failed to cure the breach in a timely manner, and the effect of the breach is to diminish the likelihood that the agreement will achieve its goals within the time frames or in the manner set forth in the agreement;
(2) To the extent that funding is or will be required, the funding source specified in subsection (b) no longer exists and is not replaced by another sufficient funding source to ensure that the measures or actions specified in subsection (b) are undertaken in accordance with this section; or
(3) Continuation of the permitted activity would appreciably reduce the likelihood of survival or recovery of any threatened or endangered species in the wild.
(d) The rights and obligations under any safe harbor agreement shall run with the land for the term agreed to in the agreement and shall be recorded by the department in the bureau of conveyances or the land court, as may be appropriate. [L 1997, c 380, pt of §2; am L 1998, c 237, §3; am L 2003, c 35, §5]
The amendment made by L 2014, c 218, §8 is not included in this section.
No new safe harbor agreements, habitat conservation plans, or incidental take licenses shall be approved or issued subsequent to June 30, 2017. L 1997, c 380, §13; L 2001, c 3, §1; L 2006, c 90, §1; L 2012, c 145, §2.
Law Journals and Reviews
Safe Harbor Agreements Under the Endangered Species Act: Are They Right for Hawai`i? 23 UH L. Rev. 507.