Federal Consistency Review

The federal Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) establishes a federal-state partnership and the related legal framework regarding management of the nation's coastal resources. The CZMA grants Maine and other coastal states that have an approved coastal management program the authority to review federal activities, federal license or permit activities, and federally funded activities to ensure that federal actions that may affect its coastal area meet the "enforceable policies" of the State's coastal program. The process by which a state decides whether a federal action meets its enforceable policies is called federal consistency review.

The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry coordinates and provides a point of contact for federal consistency review in Maine. The Maine Guide to Federal Consistency Review lists the enforceable policies of Maine's Coastal Program and outlines the State's federal consistency review process. In Maine, standards and criteria of state environmental permitting and licensing laws and regulations serve as the enforceable policies of the Maine Coastal Program. Accordingly, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and other state agencies in Maine's networked coastal program review and make findings that serve as the basis for the state's consistency decision in much the same way that they evaluate license and permit applications under the state environmental laws and regulations.

Rules issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM) – 15 CFR Part 930 - govern the deadlines and other procedural aspects of the federal consistency review process.

Program Changes

The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry periodically requests NOAA’s approval of routine program changes to the enforceable policies and other program administration-related elements of the Maine Coastal Program. Proposed routine program changes are often comprised of changes to core law statues enacted during the most recently concluded legislative session. Copies of NOAA’s decisions on these routine program change requests may be downloaded here.

Most recent NOAA decision letter:

Past NOAA approval letters:

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact the Maine Coastal Program's Federal Consistency Coordinator, Todd Burrowes, or call (207) 287-1496.


Last updated on September 23, 2014