A fishing boat sits in calm, sparkling waters, surrounded by flocking birds; in the hazy distance sit several large offshore wind turbines.

Coastal Zone Management Act

The Coastal Zone Man­age­ment Act is admin­is­tered by the Nation­al Ocean­ic and Atmos­pher­ic Admin­is­tra­tion (NOAA) and encour­ages coastal states to devel­op plans to man­age the use of states’ coastal resources. Fed­er­al­ly-approved plans to explore, devel­op and pro­duce ener­gy in Out­er Con­ti­nen­tal Shelf Lands Act lease areas must secure a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion from par­tic­i­pat­ing states that the pro­posed activ­i­ties are con­sis­tent to the max­i­mum extent prac­ti­ca­ble” with the state’s enforce­able coastal zone man­age­ment plan. Under the statute, if a state refus­es to issue a fed­er­al con­sis­ten­cy cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, the appli­cant can appeal that deci­sion to the Depart­ment of Commerce.


  • March 2019

    In March 2019, NOAA released an advanced noticed of pro­posed rule­mak­ing (ANPRM) to seek pub­lic com­ment on ways to stream­line” fed­er­al con­sis­ten­cy reviews for off­shore ener­gy pro­duc­tion. The ANPRM indi­cates that NOAA also is con­sid­er­ing speed­ing up the appeals process for projects that have not received con­sis­ten­cy cer­ti­fi­ca­tions by lim­it­ing the scope of infor­ma­tion the Sec­re­tary of Com­merce can con­sid­er on appeal.

  • April 2019

    New York Attor­ney Gen­er­al Leti­tia James led a nine state coali­tion in April 2019 in fil­ing com­ments express­ing con­cern about the ANPRM. The com­ments point­ed out that the fed­er­al con­sis­ten­cy review process could most effec­tive­ly be stream­lined by ensur­ing that project appli­cants pro­vide states with com­pre­hen­sive project infor­ma­tion as ear­ly as pos­si­ble in the review process. The attor­neys gen­er­al also ques­tioned whether speed­ing up the appeals process is nec­es­sary as there have only been 18 appeals since 1978 and none since NOAA adopt­ed new con­sis­ten­cy review reg­u­la­tions in 2006.