Document Type

Working Paper

Repository Date



Endangered Species, Habitat Conservation Plans, Conservation Banking, Environmental Insurance, Environmental Law

Subject Categories

Environmental Law | Law | Property Law and Real Estate


This Chapter in a forthcoming book to be published by AEI (edited by Jonathan Adler) provides a framework for HCP reform. The Chapter first briefly reviews the history of HCP regulations and guidance, and what we know about HCPs in practice (which is limited). It offers a range of reforms to address problems in the current HCP approach, including requirements that the Services assemble a better database regarding current HCPs and report to Congress on the program periodically; greater reliance on programmatic regulations adopted after notice and comment; development of guidelines for assessing the likely or possible environmental impacts of HCPs upfront, at the time a HCP is proposed, and the development of separate rules, processes and requirements for HCPS depending on the possible range of impacts; enhancing citizen enforcement of at least high-impact HCPs by means of explicit authorization of citizen suits to enforce HCPs, reliance on scientific advisory board (SAB) review to address the scientific legitimacy objection with respect to high-impact HCPs; development of public-private insurance to address the long-term uncertainty posed by high-impact HCPs; and development of rules and plans for greater reliance on conservation banks to address the long-term uncertainty posed by smaller-scale, lower-impact HCPs.