Because federal activities can greatly impact a state’s coastal resources, the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) established a formal review process commonly known as federal consistency. Section 307 of the CZMA, known as the federal consistency provision, provides a mechanism for states to manage coastal uses and resources and to facilitate cooperation and coordination with federal agencies. The New Hampshire Coastal Program is responsible for finalizing all federal CZMA Section 307 consistency decisions in New Hampshire.
The federal consistency review process in New Hampshire involves intradepartmental coordination within the Department of Environmental Services, and coordination with other state agencies such as the Fish and Game Department, the Department of Transportation, and the Public Utilities Commission. The review process ensures that federal activities affecting any land or water use, or natural resource in New Hampshire’s coastal zone will be conducted in a manner consistent with NHCP’s enforceable policies . The policies fall within the following categories:
- Protection of coastal resources
- Recreation and public access
- Management of coastal development
- Coastal dependent uses
- Preservation of historic and cultural resources
- Marine and estuarine research and education
Federal activities can take the form of activities proposed by federal agencies, activities proposed by nonfederal entities requiring federal licenses or permits, and activities involving federal financial assistance to state agencies or local governments. In addition, outer continental shelf exploration, development and production activities in any area that has been leased under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (43 USC 1331 et seq.) require a federal consistency review.
- Federal agency activities - activities undertaken by, or on behalf of, a federal agency. Examples include fisheries management plans by the National Marine Fisheries Service, US Army Corps of Engineers beach renourishment and dredging projects, and naval exercises.
- Federal license or permit activities - activities requiring a nonfederal applicant to obtain a federal license or permit. Examples include activities requiring US Army Corps of Engineers Section 10 or 404 permits, US EPA National Pollution Discharge Elimination System Permits, and licenses from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for hydroelectric facilities.
- Federal financial assistance activities to state and local governments - activities that involve state and local government application for federal grant assistance. For example, an application by a town for a federal construction grant for a wastewater treatment facility.
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