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What is federal consistency?

Federal consistency is a provision in the Coastal Zone Management Act that requires the federal government to comply with a state's Coastal Management Program when taking actions that are likely to affect coastal resources

California coast

Federal consistency ensures that our beautiful coasts are not threatened by government projects that could potentially harm the environment.

The Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), passed in 1972 and administered by the Office for Coastal Management, provides for the management of the nation's coastal resources by balancing economic development with environmental conservation. The goal of the CZMA is to "preserve, protect, develop, and where possible, to restore or enhance the resources of the nation's coastal zone."

The CZMA applies to many different federal actions including federal agency activities, federal license or permit activities, outer continental shelf plans, and federally assisted state projects.

In order to ensure federal consistency, a state agency reviews any programs being implemented by the federal government. Along with the state review, the National Ocean Service interprets the CZMA, oversees applications of federal consistency, provides management and legal assistance to coastal states and federal agencies, and mediates CZMA-related disputes.

The CZMA promotes cooperation and coordination between state s and the federal government in order to promote federal consistency and protect our nation's coastal resources.

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Last updated: 06/16/24
Author: NOAA
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