Umberger v. Department of Land & Natural ResourcesAnnotate this Case
Commercial aquarium collection pursuant to permits issued under Haw. Rev. Stat. 188-31 and the Department of Land and Natural Resource’s (DLNR) administrative rules is subject to the environmental review procedures provided in the Hawaii Environmental Policy Act (HEPA). The circuit court determined that, as a matter of law, aquarium collection is not an applicant “action” that triggers HEPA. The intermediate court of appeals (ICA) affirmed. The Supreme Court vacated the judgments of the lower courts with respect to commercial aquarium collection permits, holding that aquarium collection pursuant to commercial and recreational permits issued by DLNR is a HEPA “action” and thus subject to HEPA environmental review. The court remanded this case to the circuit court for further proceedings to resolve the issue of whether recreational aquarium collection under section 188-31 and DLNR’s administrative rules is also subject to HEPA.