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Coastal Zone Management Act Federal Consistency

Federal Consistency is the Federal Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) requirement that any proposed federal actions (regardless of location) that have reasonably foreseeable effects on any land or water use or natural resource of the coastal zone (also referred to as coastal uses or resources, or coastal effects) must be conducted in a manner consistent with the enforceable policies of a coastal state's federally approved coastal management program. The detailed CZMA federal consistency requirements are found within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) regulations at 15 C.F.R. Part 930.

NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management also provides a quick reference guide for CZMA federal consistency.

The Coastal Resources Management Program (CRM) within DEP has been tasked with coordinating federal consistency reviews and concurring with or objecting to proposed federal actions subject to the federal consistency requirements.

Effects on Coastal Uses and Resources

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Federal Actions

Federal actions fall within five regulated categories within the 15 C.F.R. Part 930 regulations. Each category has different requirements in terms of submission types and deadlines, thresholds for consistency, review periods, and appeal or mediation rights.

Federal actions with reasonably foreseeable coastal effects are subject to the federal consistency no matter where they occur – whether within or outside of the state’s coastal zones.

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Enforceable Policies

Enforceable policies are those policies that have received NOAA-approval for incorporation into the CRM program and have a basis in Pennsylvania law, regulation, or other legal mechanism that is cited in the official policy description. Some of CRM’s program policies are not applicable to CZMA federal consistency reviews. Others are “encouragement” policies that are intended to serve as program recommendations and are not enforceable. Finally, some enforceable policies may not be applicable to a given proposed activity. All of CRM’s NOAA-approved policies are listed below. The 11 policy categories are:

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Procedures and Dispute Resolution

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