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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.

Coastal Pollution.
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).


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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