Posted on Dec 17, 1997 in Formal Opinions

Opinion Letter No. 97-09
December 17, 1997
Geographic Information System Database as Confidential Commercial Information

The Hawaii Natural Heritage Program (“HINHP”) database provided by The Nature Conservancy to the Office of Planning and incorporated into the State geographic information system (“State GIS”) is exempt from disclosure as confidential commercial information which, if disclosed, would result in the frustration of a legitimate government function. The HINHP database is a comprehensive compilation of the geographic location and status of rare species and ecosystems in the State of Hawaii, which is available in such a complete form only from The Nature Conservancy.

The OIP determined that disclosure of the HINHP database would result in substantial competitive harm to The Nature Conservancy and would impair the State’s ability to get further such information from The Nature Conservancy. Such impairment would frustrate the ability of State agencies to effectively carry out their planning and environmental protection functions.

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