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Hawaii State Land Access Lease (3-HI-b)

The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Engineering Division oversees mineral leasing on State Lands in Hawaii under Hawaii Revised Statutes 182-4 and Hawaii Administrative Rules Title 13, Subtitle 7, Chapter 183.

State Land Access Lease Process

3-HI-b.1 – Application for Mining Lease on State Lands and associated Documents; Certificate of Qualification to Hold Mining Lease

Any person desiring to lease state lands must submit three copies of an application to the DLNR on forms provided by the DLNR and a one hundred dollar non-refundable filing fee. The application must include:

  • A description and map of the land desired to be leased;
  • A description of the known or potential geothermal resource desired to be leased for exploration and development;
  • A brief preliminary proposal of plan for geothermal exploration and development and an assessment of the environmental impact;
  • Certificate that the applicant is qualified to hold a mining lease under HAR 13-183-21 and that the officer executing the application is authorized to act on behalf of the development group; and
  • Certificate that the acreage the developer desires to lease does not exceed the acreage limitations under HAR 13-183-28.

3-HI-b.2 – Publish Notice of Lease Application(s) and Public Hearing

DLNR must publish notice of the lease applications in the county where the land is located at least once in each of three successive weeks. The Notice should provide a description of the land and the intent to develop geothermal resources. The DLNR must also provide notice of a public hearing within six weeks from the date of the first notice.

3-HI-b.3 – Hold Public Hearing

DLNR holds a public hearing to determine whether the proposed mining operation or the existing or reasonably foreseeable future use of the land would be of greater benefit to the state than the proposed mining use of th land.

3-HI-b.4 – Environmental Evaluation (optional)

The developer has the option to enter the Environmental Evaluation process.

State Environmental Review:

3-HI-b.5 - Does DLNR Approve the Application(s)

If DLNR determines that the proposed mining operation would be a greater benefit to the state than any other foreseeable future use of the land, DLNR approves the lease application(s) and continues with the State Mineral Leasing Process. If DLNR determines the mining operation would not be a greater benefit to the state than any other foreseeable future use of the land, the DLNR denies the lease application(s). DLNR considers the effect of geothermal exploration and development on the environment, fish and wildlife resources, aesthetics, population, and other resources in the area. DLNR also considers issues relating to the construction of power generating and transmission facilities, the need for geothermal energy development, and consistency with the coastal zone management plan.

3-HI-b.6 – Publish Notice of Lease Sales and Public Auction

When DLNR approves a mining lease application, DLNR publishes notice of the acceptance in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the land is located for three successive weeks. The notice sets forth the time and place of public auction, a description of the land, the geothermal rights that DLNR is leasing, and the terms and conditions of the lease sale including upset or minimum rental rate, royalties, cash bonus, percentage of the net profits or otherwise. The Notice also explains that the DLNR must approve a proposed plan of operations before any operations commence.

3-HI-b.7 – Prepare Mineral Lease

Before holding the public auction, DLNR creates a mining lease that includes the terms and conditions of the lease sale.

3-HI-b.8 – Bidder Qualifications

At least thirty days before the announced date of any public auction, all bidders must submit to DLNR evidence of their experience and financial ability to conduct geothermal exploration, drill geothermal wells, and develop geothermal resources.

3-HI-b.9 – Hold Public Auction

DLNR holds a public auction for the geothermal mineral lease amongst the qualified bidders.

3-HI-b.10 – Select Highest Responsible Qualified Bidder

DLNR offers the lease to the highest responsible qualified bidder. DLNR reserves the right to reject any and all bids or waive any defects which will be in the best interest of the state. If the board fails to award the lease within sixty days after the date of public auction, all bids for that lease will be considered rejected. If the board selects a bidder, within two days after acceptance by the DLNR, the successful bidder must pay to the board the amount of the first year’s rental bid minus the $500 deposit.

3-HI-b.11 – Geothermal Lease

The highest qualified bidder and DLNR enter into a lease for the geothermal resources.

3-HI-b.12 – Plan of Operations

The developer/lessee may not commence operations of any kind prior to submitting to DLNR a plan of operations. The plan of operations must include:

  • The proposed location and elevation above sea level of derrick, proposed depth, bottom hole location, casing program, proposed well completion program and the size and shape of drilling site, excavation and grading planned, and location of existing and proposed access roads;
  • Existing and planned access, access controls and lateral roads
  • Location and source of water supply and road building material
  • Location of camp sites, air-strips, and othersupporting facilities
  • Other areas of potential surface disturbance
  • The topographic features of the land and the drainage patterns
  • Methods for disposing of well effluent and other waste
  • A narrative statement describing the proposed measures to be taken for protection of the environment, including, but not limited to the prevention or control of:

(A) Fires, (B) Soil erosion, (C) Pollution of the surface and groundwater, (D) Damage to fish and wildlife or other natural resources, (E) Air and noise pollution and (F) Hazards to public health and safety during lease activities.

  • A geologist's preliminary survey report on the surface and sub-surface geology, nature and occurrence of the known or potential geothermal resources, surface water resources, and groundwater resources;
  • All pertinent information or data which the chairperson may require to support the plan of operations for the utilization of geothermal resources and the protection of the environment;
  • Provisions for monitoring deemed necessary by the chairperson to insure compliance with these rules for the operations under the plan.

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