Digest of Federal Resource Laws of Interest to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972

Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 (16 USC 1451-1464, Chapter 33; P.L. 92-583, October 27, 1972; 86 Stat. 1280), as amended by:

P.L. 93-612, January 2, 1975; 88 Stat. 1974; P.L. 94-370, July 26, 1976; 90 Stat. 1013; P.L. 95-372, September 18, 1978; 92 Stat. 690; P.L. 96-464, October 17, 1980; 94 Stat. 2060; P.L. 99-272, April 7, 1986; 100 Stat. 124; P.L. 99-626, November 7, 1986; 100 Stat. 3504; P.L. 101-508, November 5, 1990, 104 Stat. 1388-301; P.L. 102-587, title II, 2205(b)(2), November 4, 1992, 106 Stat. 5050; P.L. 104-150, June 3, 1996, 110 Stat. 1380; P.L. 105-383, Nov. 13, 1998, 112 Stat. 3447; and P.L. 108-456, Dec. 10, 2004, 118 Stat. 3630.

established a voluntary national program within the Department of Commerce to encourage coastal States to develop and implement coastal zone management plans. Funds were authorized for cost-sharing grants to States to develop their programs. Subsequent to Federal approval of their plans, grants would be awarded for implementation purposes. In order to be eligible for Federal approval, each State's plan was required to define boundaries of the coastal zone, to identify uses of the area to be regulated by the State, the mechanism (criteria, standards or regulations) for controlling such uses, and broad guidelines for priorities of uses within the coastal zone.

In addition, the 1972 law established a system of criteria and standards for requiring that Federal actions be conducted in a manner consistent with the Federally approved plan. The standard for determining consistency varied depending on whether the Federal action involved a permit, license, financial assistance, or a Federally authorized activity. A national system of estuarine sanctuaries was also authorized to establish national field laboratories with 50/50 cost-sharing grants for coastal States. Appropriations to cover each of these grants were authorized through FY 1977 and to cover the administrative costs of the program through FY 1973.

Amendments enacted in 1975 (P.L. 93-612) made minor technical revisions to administration of the grant program. Amendments in 1976 (P.L. 94-370) established the Coastal Energy Impact Program and added the national objective of attaining a greater degree of energy self-sufficiency based on new or expanded energy activity in or affecting the coastal zone. Additional features to include in each coastal zone management plan were stipulated and the category of activities subject to the Federal consistency requirements was expanded to include outer continental shelf exploration and development plans.

Section 8 of this public law also created an Interstate Grants Program for the purpose of coordinating States' coastal zone planning and a Research and Technical Assistance program. In addition, section 10 of the 1976 statute mandated a continuing national system for evaluating the performance of State management activities, and section 12 expanded the purposes of the estuarine sanctuary program to include public access. Appropriations for the many activities, including cost-sharing grants, were authorized through FY 1979.

Title V of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act Amendments of 1978 (P.L. 95-372) authorized Outer Continental Shelf Grants to coastal States through FY 1983 and clarified the responsibility of coastal States to review certifications of consistency for related activities.

The Coastal Zone Management Improvement Act of 1980 (P.L. 96-464) established a new system of Resource Management Improvement Grants related to preservation of certain coastal areas, redevelopment of urban waterfronts, and public access to beaches. Provisions for withdrawing financial assistance based on evaluations of State coastal plans were enacted; funds for related activities were authorized through FY 1985; and procedures for Congressional disapproval of regulations promulgated to implement this law were enacted.

Subtitle D of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (P.L. 99-272) amended the original statute to modify cost-sharing requirements for financial assistance and to stipulate administrative procedures for approving changes to coastal zone management plans. This law also established the National Estuarine Reserve Research System, a State-Federal process for designating national reserves, and guidelines for estuarine research. Appropriations for related activities were authorized through FY 1990. During the same year, section 7 of the Recreational Boating Safety Act of 1986 (P.L. 99-626) amended the original statute to provide for the reversion of unobligated funds which were not spent for the alloted fiscal year.

The Coastal Zone Management Act was again reauthorized and amended as part of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-508). The Federal consistency provisions in the 1972 statute were amended to overturn an earlier Supreme Court decision that Federal OCS oil and gas lease sales were not subject to the Federal consistency provisions in the law. As amended, the statute now requires that "any Federal activity within or outside of the coastal zone that affects any land or water use or natural resource of the coastal zone" shall be "consistent to the maximum extent practicable with the enforceable policies" of a State's coastal zone management plan.

The new law has also repealed the Coastal Energy Impact Program and established a new Enhancement Grants Program for eight specific areas, including protecting, restoring or enhancing existing coastal wetlands or creating new coastal wetlands and assessing the cumulative effects of coastal development on coastal wetlands and fishery resources. In addition, this statute has established a new Coastal Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program and increased the financial assistance for land acquisition under the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. Appropriations for all related activities have been authorized through FY 1995.

The 1992 amendments (P.L. 102-587) made minor technical corrections to the law.

The law was amended in June 1996 (P.L. 104-150) to allow the Secretary of Commerce to provide development grants to states to develop management programs, with the provision that the grant will not exceed $200,000. It also establishes a grants program for states to regulate aquaculture facilities. The Act defines coastal zone enhancement objectives and sets limits for Coastal Zone Management Grants to states. Appropriations for all activities are reauthorized through FY99.

The Act was further amended in 1998 and 2004 (P.L. 105-383 and P.L. 108-456) to establish a program for the prevention and control of harmful algal blooms and hypoxia. The Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act established an Inter-Agency Task Force, which includes a representative from the Department of the Interior, to assess the economic and ecological impacts of algal blooms and hypoxia. Among other provisions, the 2004 amendments extended authorization of appropriations to the Secretary of Commerce for research, monitoring, and outreach through fiscal year 2008.

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