Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
Find     
Site Image

FAQ on Federal Consistency Review
What is federal consistency?
The U.S. Congress passed the federal Coastal Zone Management Act [CZMA] in the early 1970's to address competing uses and resource impacts occurring in the nationís coastal areas. The Act included several incentives to encourage coastal states to develop coastal management programs. One incentive was a legal authority called ìfederal consistencyî that was granted to coastal states with federally approved coastal management programs. The federal consistency provisions of the CZMA require that any federal action occurring in or outside of Oregon's coastal zone which affects coastal land or water uses or natural resources must be consistent with the Oregon Coastal Management Program. The federal consistency requirement is a rather unique concept in that state programs for coastal management cannot generally be preempted by federal law.
 
The federal Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management [OCRM] oversees the application of federal consistency authority by state coastal programs. You may direct your inquiries about federal consistency to OCRM.

Where does federal consistency apply?
The state of Oregon has a designated coastal zone. The coastal zone is the area lying between the Washington and California borders on the north and south, bound on the west by the extent of the state's territorial sea jurisdiction [3 nautical miles offshore], and extending east to the crest of the Coast Range except at: [a] the Columbia River where the coastal zone extends to the downstream end of Puget Island, [b] the Umpqua River where the coastal zone extends to Scottsburg, and [c] the Rogue River where the coastal zone extends to Agness. Federal consistency potentially applies to any project having effects on land and water uses or natural resources of the Oregon coastal zone, but DLCD reviews are generally only required for projects located west of the Coast Range boundary.

What types of projects are subject to consistency review?
Direct Federal Actions
Direct federal actions are actions taken by or on behalf of a federal agency; e.g., development projects such as recreation facilities and road building, federal land transfers, dredging/disposal projects.

Federal Permits and Licenses
Federal permits and licenses are federal agency approvals, such as Corps of Engineers wetlands fill and navigable waterway permits, and EPA pollution discharge permits.

Outer Continental Shelf Exploration
Outer Continental Shelf Exploration, Development, and Production permits and licenses.

Financial Assistance
Federal Financial Assistance to state and local governments or related public entity, such as Rural Economic & Community Development, Housing and Urban Development, and U.S. Forest Service grants.

Who reviews projects for consistency with the OCMP?
DLCD is the state's designated coastal management agency and is responsible for reviewing projects for consistency with the OCMP and issuing coastal management decisions. DLCD's reviews involve consultation with local governments, state agencies, federal agencies, and other interested parties in determining project consistency with the OCMP. DLCD's federal consistency decisions are called "coastal concurrences" [approvals] and "coastal objections" [denials]. Objections, which are rare, can be based on an inconsistency with coastal program policies or a lack of sufficient information to determine consistency. In the event of a formal DLCD objection, federal permits, licenses and financial assistance grants cannot be issued, and direct federal activities cannot proceed unless compliance with the OCMP is specifically prohibited by other federal law.

What does it mean to be 'consistent' with the OCMP?
A project must be shown to be consistent with the various applicable components of the OCMP, that is, with the statewide planning goals, with coastal city and county comprehensive plans and land use regulations approved by the Land Conservation and Development Commission, and with various state agency authorities [e.g., land use planning statutes, the Oregon Territorial Sea Plan, the Removal-Fill Law, water quality standards, the Oregon Beach Bill].
 
DLCD can assist individuals or agencies on a case-by-case basis with determining how to best go about demonstrating consistency with the OCMP. But generally speaking, you will need to start by consulting with the affected local city or county planning department to determine applicable local land use requirements, and you will need to check with various state agencies to determine if any state approvals are required. For example, a proposed project might be regulated at the local-level as a conditional use and by the Oregon Division of State Lands under the Removal-Fill Law. You will also need to work with local, DLCD, and other state officials to ensure that sufficient information has been provided to explain your proposal - for example: project purpose and need and design details, potential impacts to coastal resources and uses, and any alternatives that were considered. Return to the main project review page for more information about state and local permits.

What are the OCMP review procedures?
Procedures for DLCD coastal zone reviews are specified in federal regulations at 15 CFR 930 ['CFR' means Code of Federal Regulations] and state regulations at OAR 660-035. The regulations primarily cover procedural aspects of federal consistency reviews including when reviews begin, the information required for state reviews, public notices, review deadlines, requests for additional information, appeals, etc. Reviews generally take 45-90 days but can take longer [up to six months] if significant management issues are raised, if additional information has been requested by DLCD and is not readily forthcoming, or if a permit applicant has failed to apply for required local and state permits.