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 states 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 states 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 Commissions 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.
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)
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