U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Dec 10, 2023
(a)(1) The term “consistent to the maximum extent practicable” means fully consistent with the enforceable policies of management programs unless full consistency is prohibited by existing law applicable to the Federal agency.
(2) Section 307(e) of the Act does not relieve Federal agencies of the consistency requirements under the Act. The Act was intended to cause substantive changes in Federal agency decisionmaking within the context of the discretionary powers residing in such agencies. Accordingly, whenever legally permissible, Federal agencies shall consider the enforceable policies of management programs as requirements to be adhered to in addition to existing Federal agency statutory mandates. If a Federal agency asserts that full consistency with the management program is prohibited, it shall clearly describe, in writing, to the State agency the statutory provisions, legislative history, or other legal authority which limits the Federal agency's discretion to be fully consistent with the enforceable policies of the management program.
(3) For the purpose of determining consistent to the maximum extent practicable under paragraphs (a)(1) and (2) of this section, federal legal authority includes Federal appropriation Acts if the appropriation Act includes language that specifically prohibits full consistency with specific enforceable policies of management programs. Federal agencies shall not use a general claim of a lack of funding or insufficient appropriated funds or failure to include the cost of being fully consistent in Federal budget and planning processes as a basis for being consistent to the maximum extent practicable with an enforceable policy of a management program. The only circumstance where a Federal agency may rely on a lack of funding as a limitation on being fully consistent with an enforceable policy is the Presidential exemption described in section 307(c)(1)(B) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1456(c)(1)(B)). In cases where the cost of being consistent with the enforceable policies of a management program was not included in the Federal agency's budget and planning processes, the Federal agency should determine the amount of funds needed and seek additional federal funds. Federal agencies should include the cost of being fully consistent with the enforceable policies of management programs in their budget and planning processes, to the same extent that a Federal agency would plan for the cost of complying with other federal requirements.
(b) A Federal agency may deviate from full consistency with an approved management program when such deviation is justified because of an emergency or other similar unforeseen circumstance (“exigent circumstance”), which presents the Federal agency with a substantial obstacle that prevents complete adherence to the approved program. Any deviation shall be the minimum necessary to address the exigent circumstance. Federal agencies shall carry out their activities consistent to the maximum extent practicable with the enforceable policies of a management program, to the extent that the exigent circumstance allows. Federal agencies shall consult with State agencies to the extent that an exigent circumstance allows and shall attempt to seek State agency concurrence prior to addressing the exigent circumstance. Once the exigent circumstances have passed, and if the Federal agency is still carrying out an activity with coastal effects, Federal agencies shall comply with all applicable provisions of this subpart to ensure that the activity is consistent to the maximum extent practicable with the enforceable policies of management programs. Once the Federal agency has addressed the exigent circumstance or completed its emergency response activities, it shall provide the State agency with a description of its actions and their coastal effects.
(c) A classified activity that affects any coastal use or resource is not exempt from the requirements of this subpart, unless the activity is exempted by the President under section 307(c)(1)(B) of the Act. Under the consistent to the maximum extent practicable standard, the Federal agency shall provide to the State agency a description of the project and coastal effects that it is legally permitted to release or does not otherwise breach the classified nature of the activity. Even when a Federal agency may not be able to disclose project information, the Federal agency shall conduct the classified activity consistent to the maximum extent practicable with the enforceable policies of management programs. The term classified means to protect from disclosure national security information concerning the national defense or foreign policy, provided that the information has been properly classified in accordance with the substantive and procedural requirements of an executive order. Federal and State agencies are encouraged to agree on a qualified third party(ies) with appropriate security clearance(s) to review classified information and to provide non-classified comments regarding the activity's reasonably foreseeable coastal effects.