Natural Resource Protection and Conservation


Endangered Species Act»
Hawaii State Constitution's Public Trust»
Wilderness Act»

This 1973 federal law established a program for the conservation and protection of wildlife and plants threatened or endangered with extinction. The Act is comprised of common sense protections to save threatened wildlife and plants and bring species back from the brink of extinction. (Act amended in 1978 and 1982.)

[Download]

Endangered Species Citizen’s Guide
This 2003 booklet by Earthjustice and Endangered Species Coalition outlines the history of America‘s wildlife preservation efforts, details the benefits of the Endangered Species Act (Pgs. 8 & 9), and describes agency implementation and political challenges.

[Download]

In Hawaii’s State Constitution, the waters of Hawaii, including the ocean, seashore and navigable rivers and streams, are protected in a public trust for its citizens (Article XI, Section 1). Hawaii’s Supreme Court affirmed the public trust doctrine in a landmark 2000 decision on the diversion of water for private use. The court found the state had the right, “to maintain the purity and flow of our waters for future generations…” and affirmed findings that, “where there are present or potential threats of serious damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be a basis for postponing effective measures to prevent environmental degradation…”

[Download]

Brochure

This Trust Water brochure by Hawaii’s Thousand Friends outlines the history and application of the Hawaii Public Trust doctrine in its state constitution and court decisions, and notes the Supreme Court “embraced a precautionary principle.” (Page 10)

[Download]

The 1964 Act was passed to “secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness.” (Sec. 2a). The law established a National Wilderness Preservation System and initially protected 54 areas or 9.1 million acres in 13 states. It also provided for the addition of new lands and now covers 677 areas or 106.5 million acres in 44 states. With some exceptions, prohibitions include closure to motorized vehicles, timber harvest, new grazing and mining activity, or any kind of development.

[Download]


Print