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The Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) of 1972, 16 U.S.C. secs. 1451-
1464, is the primary federal statute for protecting the nation's coastal
areas from pollution and development pressures. Other federal statutes
specifically designed to protect the coasts include the Coastal Barrier
Resources Act, 16 U.S.C. sec. 3501, and the Estuarine Areas Act of 1968,
16 U.S.C. secs. 1221-1226, the latter of which requires federal agencies
to consider the value of estuaries in their planning. In addition, the
Clean Water Act's permitting and other requirements apply to discharges
in coastal waters, see Section 9: Protection and Management of Water
Resource, and the 1990 CAA Amendments required EPA to monitor and assess
the impact of hazardous air pollutants on coastal areas. 42 U.S.C. sec.
7412(m). State statutes, land-use programs, and the state judicial
application of the public trust doctrine may also offer particularly
important protection for coastal areas.
Coastal Zone Management Programs.
The CZMA confirms the primary authority of the states to regulate land-
use on and near the coasts, including tidelands. The CZMA offers federal
funding to the states for developing and implementing coastal zone
management programs that meet certain federal requirements. 16 U.S.C.
sec. 1455; 15 C.F.R. pt. 923. The CZMA also requires all federal
agencies and programs to be consistent with approved state programs. 16
U.S.C. sec. 1456(c). Currently over half of the states and territories
have federally approved coastal zone management programs.
The 1990 amendments to the CZMA condition future federal funding for
federally-approved state coastal zone management programs on the
adoption of coastal nonpoint source pollution control programs. The
programs are intended to improve land-use practices and the management
of critical coastal areas to reverse pollution of coastal waters. In
addition, the Shore Protection Act of 1988, 33 U.S.C. secs. 2601-2623,
prohibits the transport of any municipal or commercial solid waste
without a permit from the Department of Transportation. The Act also
requires reasonable precautions in loading, securing and offloading
municipal or commercial waste, and requires the clean-up of any waste
deposited in the coastal waters. 33 U.S.C. sec. 2603.
State Protection of Coastal Areas.
State and territorial statutes as well as local land-use ordinances
protect coastal areas. See e.g. Cal. Pub. Res. Code secs. 6301, 21000,
30103 (1995); Mich. Stat. Ann. sec. 14-528(372) (Callaghan 1993); Tex.
Agric. Code Ann. sec. 201.026 (West 1995), Tex. Nat. Res. Code Ann. sec.
33.053 (West 1995); Wash. Rev. Code secs. 90.58.020 (1994). For
additional state statutes protecting coastal areas, click here. See also
16 U.S.C. sec. 1456a(b)(2)(B)(vi). In addition, the public trust
doctrine provides public access and protection to some coasts, beaches
and tidal lands. Phillips Petroleum v. Mississippi, 484 U.S. 469 (1987).
LIABILITY AND ENFORCEMENT
Enforcement of Coastal Zone Management Act.
The CZMA does not provide for any federal enforcement or liability
provisions. 16 U.S.C. secs. 1451-1464. Other federal and state laws may
apply to activities in coastal zones.
Enforcement of Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act.
The MPRSA's ban on ocean dumping includes its own enforcement and
implementation provisions. 33 U.S.C. sec. 1415. Civil penalties up to
$50,000 per violation and up to $125,000 per violation involving medical
waste can be assessed by the Administrator. No penalty can be assessed
without notice and an opportunity for a hearing. 33 U.S.C. sec. 1415(a).
Knowing violations can bring criminal fines and imprisonment of up to 5
years, as well as forfeiture of any property (for example, boats) used
in the violation. 33 U.S.C. sec. 1415(b). The law also allows for
citizen enforcement, with 60-day notice, as long as the government is
not diligently prosecuting. 33 U.S.C. sec. 1415(g).
Enforcement of Shore Protection Act.
Under the Shore Protection Act of 1988, the Secretary of Transportation
is authorized to examine vessels transporting municipal or commercial
waste and to deny entry to the United States if a vessel does not have
the required permit. 33 U.S.C. sec. 2605. Operating without a permit is
subject to a civil penalty of up to $10,000 per day per violation. Civil
penalties up to $25,000 per day are available for other violations of
this law. 33 U.S.C. sec. 2609. The law applies to foreign vessels to the
extent allowed by international law. 33 U.S.C. sec. 2622(b).
From Summary of Enviromental Law in the United States - CEC
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