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Federal Consistency Program

The Federal Consistency Unit of the California Coastal Commission implements the federal Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) of 1972 as it applies to federal activities, development projects, permits and licenses, and support to state and local governments. In the CZMA,

Congress created a federal and state partnership for management of coastal resources. The CZMA encourages states to develop coastal management programs, through, among other means, the federal consistency procedures of the CZMA. Upon certification of a state’s coastal management program, a federal agency must conduct its activities (including federal development projects, permits and licenses, and assistance to state and local governments) in a manner consistent with the state’s certified program. The processes established to implement this requirement is called a consistency determination for federal activities and development projects and a consistency certification for federal permits and licenses and federal support to state and local agencies.

The federal government certified the California Coastal Management Program (CCMP) in 1977. The enforceable policies of that document are Chapter 3 of the California Coastal Act of 1976. All consistency documents are reviewed for consistency with these policies. The Commission’s goal is to use the federal consistency process to provide open communication and coordination with federal agencies and applicants and provide the public with an opportunity to participate in the process. The Commission believes that this process allows it to authorize federal activities in manner that minimizes impacts to coastal resources and is consistent with the CCMP.

Legal/Regulatory Underpinnings

Federal Consistency Documents

Sample Consistency Determinations

Sample Consistency Certifications

These consistency certifications were submitted as a consistency determination by a federal agency and the Commission staff has modified them to reflect the requirements of a consistency certification submitted by an applicant for a federal permit. (Updated January 2009)

  • Detailed [in PDF]
  • Moderate [in PDF]
  • Simple [in PDF]

Secretarial Decisions On Appeals - California

Under the Coastal Zone Management Act, state objections to consistency certifications are appealable (by applicants) to the Secretary of Commerce. In the nine decisions by the Secretary of Commerce on appeals of California Coastal Commission (CCC) objections to consistency certifications, the Commission’s objection was sustained by the Secretary of Commerce in three cases, overridden in five cases, and a final decision deferred in one case.

Note: All Secretary of Commerce decisions nationwide can be found at the following Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) Consistency Appeals Website


Please note:  This does not apply to Consistency CERTIFICATIONS.

December 2011 October 14, 2011
January 2012 November 18, 2011
February 2012 December 16, 2011
March 2012 January 13, 2012
April 2010 February 17, 2012
May 2012 March 16, 2012
June 2012 April 20, 2012
July 2012 May 18, 2012
August 2012 June 15, 2012
September 2012 July 20, 2012
October 2012 August 17, 2012
November 2012 September 21, 2012
December 2012 October 19, 2012


See the meeting agenda for specifics as well as our meeting dates/locations page.


Contact the Federal Consistency Coordinator