Apply for Federal Consistency Review

The Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) implements federal consistency review. Application requirements, review procedures, and timetables vary for the 4 types of projects subject to federal consistency review, as indicated below.

CZM - Project Review Coordinator

The Details of Apply for Federal Consistency Review

What you need for Apply for Federal Consistency Review

The following four types of federal actions are subject to the federal consistency requirement:

  • Federal License or Permit Activity - Activities performed by a non-federal entity that require any authorization, certification, approval, or other form of permission from a federal agency.
  • Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Plans - Any plan for the exploration or development of, or production from, any area that has been leased pursuant to the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, and including all federal license or permit activities described in detail in such plans and affecting any coastal use or resource.
  • Federal Agency Activity - Activities performed by or on behalf of a federal agency, including but not limited to development projects (i.e., the planning, construction, modification, or removal of public works, facilities, or other structures and the acquisition, utilization, or disposal of land or water resources).
  • Federal Assistance to State and Local Governments - Assistance provided under a federal program through grant or contractual arrangements, loans, subsidies, guarantees, insurance, or other forms of financial aid.

CZM strongly encourages pre-application consultation for projects that are subject to federal consistency review. CZM staff can provide advance assistance on questions regarding jurisdiction, activities subject to review, contents of the consistency certification and material necessary to commence and complete review, review schedule, and project design and/or operation. Pre-application consultation helps to ensure the review procedures are well understood and that the consistency review process occurs in a timely and efficient manner.

For assistance, please call CZM’s Project Review Coordinator at (617) 626-1050 or email CZM at (please specify in the email that you have a federal consistency question)

How to apply Apply for Federal Consistency Review

Please set up a pre-application consultation by calling CZM’s Project Review Coordinator at (617) 626-1050 or emailing CZM at (please specify in the email that you have a federal consistency question).

There are no application forms or fees for federal consistency review. To initiate the review process, project proponents must submit appropriate materials to:

Project Review Coordinator
Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management
251 Causeway Street, Suite 800
Boston, MA 02114

Next steps for Apply for Federal Consistency Review

  1. Learn about the process

    When you contact CZM for a pre-application consultation, the CZM Project Review Coordinator will describe the general process. Typically, the applicant will: hire a consultant to manage permitting the process, contact the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) Office and other state and federal agencies that require licenses or permits to determine their requirements, compile information and applications, and follow through as necessary.

  2. Prepare the project for the pre-application consultation meeting

    To identify all potential permitting issues at the consultation, the project needs to be presented with sufficient information for the state and federal agencies to begin to assess impacts. To assess the type of information required for federal consistency review itself, see “More info” below.

  3. Participate in the pre-application consultation

    At this meeting, CZM and all relevant state and federal agencies will describe the process as it relates to MEPA review and other state and federal licenses and permits. The agencies will inform the applicant specifically what type of information is needed for review and permitting, including the potential resource impacts to be addressed.

  4. Undergo MEPA review

    MEPA provides opportunities for public and state agency review of the potential environmental impacts of projects. The intent of the MEPA review is to inform the project applicant and state agencies of potential adverse environmental impacts while a proposal is still in the planning stage. During this review, all relevant state agencies are required to identify any aspects of the proposal that require additional description or analysis.

  5. Complete all other state and federal permitting and federal consistency review

    Once the MEPA process is completed, the applicant applies for relevant state and federal licenses and permits. Applicants can also apply for federal consistency review at the same time, however, CZM cannot issue a concurrence until all state and federal license and permit applications have been reviewed by the appropriate agencies.

More info for Apply for Federal Consistency Review

Details on CZM's federal consistency review process are provided in:

  • Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management Policy Guide - October 2011 - The Policy Guide is the official statement of the Massachusetts coastal program policies and legal authorities, especially as they relate to the process of federal consistency review. It provides the official program policies of the Massachusetts coastal program and includes information on the federal Coastal Zone Management Act, the history and operation of the Massachusetts coastal program, federal consistency review, and the application of coastal policy in other state regulatory programs.
    • Overview of Federal Consistency Review in Massachusetts (PDF, 147 KB) - The Federal Consistency Review Section of the Policy Guide provides an overview of how the federal consistency review process is applied in Massachusetts.
    • Massachusetts Coastal Program Policies (PDF, 429 KB) - The Massachusetts Coastal Program Policies section of the Policy Guide specifies CZM's enforceable policies. Proponents must demonstrate that projects subject to federal consistency review are consistent with these policies.
    • Listed Federal Actions (PDF, 62 KB) - Appendix 4 of the Policy Guide provides the complete and current list of federal activities that have been determined by Massachusetts to have reasonably foreseeable effects on coastal uses or resources and may therefore be subject to federal consistency review by CZM without further approval from NOAA or other federal agency, unless otherwise provided in NOAA's Federal Consistency Regulations.
  • NOAA Federal Consistency Rules (PDF, 928 KB) - These are the federal regulations promulgated by NOAA at 15 CFR 930 et seq., which govern federal consistency for approved coastal management programs.
  • Coastal Zone Management Regulations - This list includes 301 CMR 20, which covers implementation and administration of the Massachusetts Coastal Program and Federal Consistency Review, as well as the other sets of state regulations promulgated by CZM.
  • Massachusetts Coastal Zone Boundary - The official boundary includes the lands and waters within an area defined by the seaward limit of the state's territorial sea, extending from the Massachusetts-New Hampshire border south to the Massachusetts-Rhode Island border, and landward to 100 feet inland of specified major roads, rail lines, other visible rights-of-way, or in the absence these, at specified coordinates specified.
  • Environmental Permitting in Massachusetts - This guide, published in 2003, provides brief descriptions of the major Massachusetts environmental permits.

Contact for Apply for Federal Consistency Review

Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management, 251 Causeway Street, Suite 800, Boston, MA 02114