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Judicial Interpretations of Federal Consistency under the Coastal Zone Management Act

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The federal consistency provision of the Coastal Zone Management Act (1972) created a new form of interaction between federal and state governments. The implementation of this provision has significant ramifications for coastal management and intergovernmental cooperation in the United States. Past studies have focused on the provision's implementation patterns among U.S. coastal states and federal-state disputes mediated by the Secretary of Commerce. This supplemental article examines judicial interpretations of the federal consistency provision over the past two decades in relation to major issues deliberated by Congress at the time of enactment. Recent changes in the provision, as well as those unresolved issues likely to resurface in future litigation, are also discussed. Seemingly, coastal land use authority and offshore energy exploration remain the most contentious issues surrounding the federal consistency provision.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2001-10-01

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