(information last updated January 2019)

Ongoing Projects:

Federal Project(s) Operating in the State:


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) sponsors the Hawaii Island Volcanic Smog Sensor Network (“HI-Vog”), a project that aims to develop and deploy a community-based air quality sensor network across Hawaii Island to measure sulfur dioxide and fine particulate matter levels. The Hawai’i Island Volcanic Smog Sensor Network (HI-Vog): Tracking Air Quality and Community Engagement Near a Major Emissions Hotspot, U.S. Envtl. Protection Agency, https://cfpub.epa.gov/ncer_abstracts/index.cfm/fuseaction/display.abstractDetail/abstract/10741/report/0 (last visited Feb. 7, 2019); see also Home, Haw. Island Air Quality Network, http://www.mit.edu/~jhkroll/hawaii/index.htm (last visited Feb. 7, 2019). 


The U.S. Geological Survey (“USGS”) recruited volunteers to install digital seismographs connected to local internet networks in private homes, businesses, public buildings, and schools in multiple states, including Hawaii, to monitor ground movement during earthquakes. NetQuakes, U.S. Geological Surv., https://earthquake.usgs.gov/monitoring/netquakes (last visited Feb. 7, 2019). 


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (“NOAA”) and Maui County sponsor Hui O Ka Wai Ola (Association of the Living Waters), a group of volunteers and scientists who test for sediments, nutrients, and other pollutants from land-based sources that might harm water quality. Home, Hui O Ka Wai Ola, https://www.huiokawaiola.com/ (last visited Feb. 7, 2019).

State Project(s):

The Hawaii Legislature has established a Hawaii Unmanned Aerial Systems Test Site as part of the Pan-Pacific Unmanned Aerial Systems Test Range Complex. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 201-72.7. In establishing the test site, the legislature cited the many “existing and potential civilian uses of unmanned aerial systems,” including watershed management, surveys, agricultural monitoring, air quality monitoring, flood and pollution control, and land use surveys. S. 661, 28th Leg. (Haw. 2015) (enacted).

Collection of Information:

Scientific Collection Permits:

Depending on the research activity and location, one or more permits may be required to study plants and animals in Hawaii. See Permit Guidelines, Haw. Division of Forestry & Wildlife, http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dofaw/permits/ (last visited Feb. 7, 2019); see also Haw. Rev. Stat. § 183D-6(b); Haw. Code R. 13-104-20.






Trespass Laws:

Criminal Liability for Trespass Despite Lack of Notice:

No.  Simple trespass requires that a person “knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in or upon premises” owned by another. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 708-815(1). While an individual may commit simple trespass despite lack of notice, the offense is only a violation, subject to a maximum fine of $1000. Id. § 708-815(2), § 706-640(1)(e). “A violation does not constitute a crime.” Id. § 701-107(5).


A person commits second-degree criminal trespass if they knowingly enter or remain unlawfully on a premises “enclosed in a manner designed to exclude intruders” or a commercial premises after a reasonable warning or request to leave by the owner or lessee or a police officer. Id. § 708-814(1)(a)-(b). Second-degree criminal trespass also covers entering or remaining on agricultural land or unimproved or unused land without the permission of the owner or lawful possessor if that land is fenced or secured in a manner designed to exclude or otherwise bears visible signage designed to exclude. Id. § 708-814(1)(c)-(d). Criminal trespass in the second degree is a petty misdemeanor. Id. § 708-814(3). 

Criminal Trespass onto State Lands:

A person commits trespass in or upon any improved state lands when: (i) The land is closed to public use and its closure hours are posted on a sign or signs on the improved state land, and after a request to leave is made by any law enforcement officer the person remains in or upon the land; or (ii) The land is not open to the public and there are signs that are sufficient to give reasonable notice that read: ‘Government Property - No Trespassing’….” Haw. Rev Stat. § 708-814.7(1)(a). A violation of this section is a petty misdemeanor. Id. §708-814.7(2).


It is a defense against trespass that “the defendant entered upon and passed along or over established and well-defined roadways, pathways, or trails leading to public beaches over government lands, whether or not under lease to private persons.” Haw. Rev. Stat. § 708-816.

Drone Laws:

State Parks:

Within the limits of any park, it is a violation for any person, wherever signs are posted prohibiting the activity, to fly drones. Haw. Code R. 15-210-13(c)(4). Visitors may only fly drones in areas specifically designated for that purpose. See id. 15-210-13(d)(2); see also Hawai’i State Park Rules, Haw. Dep’t of Nat. Resources, http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dsp/park-rules/ (last visited Feb. 7, 2019).

Stalking Laws:

Criminal Law:

“A person commits the offense of harassment by stalking if, with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm another person, or in reckless disregard of the risk thereof, that person engages in a course of conduct involving pursuit, surveillance, or nonconsensual contact upon the other person on more than one occasion without legitimate purpose.” Haw. Rev. Stat. § 711-1106.5(1).

Use of Information:

Although incomplete, our research has not found any provisions relating to the use of information collected by citizens in enforcement or administrative/legislative actions.

Evidentiary Standards:

Pleading a Claim:

Requires certification that “the allegations and other factual contentions have evidentiary support or, if specifically so identified, are likely to have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery.” Haw. R. Civ. P. 11(b)(3).

Authentication or Chain of Custody:

“The requirement of authentication or identification as a condition precedent to admissibility is satisfied by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what its proponent claims.” Haw. Rev. Stat. § 626-1(a), Haw. R. Evid. 901(a).

Expert Testimony:

Though the court has not adopted the Daubert standard, it finds it instructive (because the Hawaii Rules of Evidence are modeled on the Federal Rules of Evidence) and looks to reliability and relevance as the “touchstones of admissibility for expert testimony.” State v. Vliet, 19 P.3d 42, 53–54 (Haw. 2001) (citing Kumho Tire Co. v. Carmichael, 526 U.S. 137, 149–50 (1999)); see also State v. Fukusaku, 946 P.2d 32, 43 (Haw. 1997).


Please note that this discussion is not moderated by the Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic.