(a) In addition to all powers and duties specifically assigned the Commission by this chapter, the Commission shall have the primary responsibility for identification and preservation of threatened and endangered species in the Territory. In addition, the Commission shall have oversight responsibility for the implementation of the provisions of this chapter and the provisions of the ‘End angered Species Act of 1973‘, Pub. L. 93-205, Dec. 28, 1973, 81 Stat. 884, a nd the amendments thereto, codified in 16 U.S.C. section 1531 et seq., which are hereby adopted and made applicable to the Commission and the Department of Planning and Natural Resources.
(b) The Commission is charged with the responsibility for the conservation and protection of endangered or threatened species of animals and plants within the Territory of the United States Virgin Islands. In order to carry out this mandate, the Commission shall determine whether any species as defined in section 102 hereof, is an endangered species or threatened species because of any of the following factors:
(A) the present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range;
(B) commercial activity or overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes;
(C) disease or predation;
(D) the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or
(E) other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence.
(c) The Commission shall, from time to time, by regulation, list such species as it determines are endangered or threatened as defined in section 102 hereof. In making such determination, the Commission shall, consistent with federal rules and regulations pertaining to conservation of threatened and endangered species, further determine which species shall be changed in status from a threatened species to an endangered species.
(d) The Commission shall make determinations required by this section solely on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available to it after conducting a review of the status of the species and after taking into account those efforts, if any, being made by any state or foreign country, or any political subdivision thereof, to protect such species, whether by predator control, protection of habitat and food supply, or other conservation practices, within any area under its jurisdiction, or on the high seas.
(e) In addition to the powers and duties set forth in subsections (a) through (d) of this section, the Commission shall:
(1) promulgate rules and regulations necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter, provided, however, that no such rules or regulations shall be promulgated unless public hearings are held by the Commission after appropriate notice. Any rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to this chapter may be modified, amended or revised by the Legislature in accordance with the provisions of subsection (b), section 913, Title 3 of this Code;
(2) prepare and submit to the Legislature of the United States Virgin Islands, for adoption, any additional plans and undertake any studies it deems necessary and appropriate to better accomplish the purposes, goals and policies of this chapter; and
(3) evaluate progress being made towards the implementation of the provisions of this chapter and submit a report to the Governor and Legislature on an annual basis.
Citation: V.I. Code Ann. tit. 12, § 104.