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e-CFR data is current as of January 15, 2021

Title 15Subtitle BChapter IXSubchapter BPart 923 → Subpart L


Title 15: Commerce and Foreign Trade
PART 923—COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM REGULATIONS


Subpart L—Review of Performance


Contents
§923.131   General.
§923.132   Definitions.
§923.133   Procedure for conducting continuing reviews of approved State CZM programs.
§923.134   Public participation.
§923.135   Enforcement.

Authority: Section 312 of the Coastal Zone Management Act, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1458).

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§923.131   General.

This subpart sets forth the requirements for review of approved State coastal zone management (CZM) programs pursuant to section 312 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1458). This subpart defines “continuing review” and other important terms, and sets forth the procedures for:

(a) Conducting continuing reviews of approved State CZM programs;

(b) Providing for public participation;

(c) Invoking interim sanctions for non-adherence to an approved coastal zone management program or a portion of such program; and

(d) Withdrawing program approval and financial assistance.

[57 FR 31113, July 14, 1992. Redesignated and amended at 61 FR 33818, June 28, 1996]

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§923.132   Definitions.

(a) Continuing review means monitoring State performance on an ongoing basis. As part of the continuing review, evaluations of approved CZM programs will be conducted and written findings will be produced at least once every three years.

(b) Adherence means to comply with the approved CZM program and financial assistance award or work program.

(c) Interim sanction means suspension and redirection of any portion of financial assistance extended to any coastal State under this title, if the Secretary determines that the coastal State is failing to adhere to the management program or a State plan developed to manage a national estuarine reserve, or a portion of the program or plan approved by the Secretary, or the terms of any grant or cooperative agreement funded under this title.

(d) Approved CZM program means those elements of the program approved by the Secretary, under 15 CFR part 923 (Development and Approval Provisions), including any changes to those elements made by approved amendments and routine program implementation.

(e) Financial assistance award means a legal instrument that creates a relationship between the Federal government and another entity (recipient). The principal purpose of the award is the transfer of money or services in order to accomplish a public purpose authorized by Federal statute. The term “financial assistance award” encompasses grants, loans, and cooperative agreements. The following elements constitute the award:

(1) The work program described in the approved application;

(2) The budget;

(3) The standard terms and conditions of the award;

(4) Any special award conditions included with the award;

(5) The statutes and regulations under which the award is authorized; and

(6) Applicable OMB cost principles and administrative requirements.

(f) Work program means a description of the tasks to be undertaken by a State for a given time period for the purpose of implementing and enforcing an approved CZM program. The work program is submitted as a part of a Federal financial assistance application, or separately in the absence of Federal financial assistance.

(g) Assistant Administrator means the Assistant Administrator for Ocean Services and Coastal Zone Management, or the NOAA Official responsible for directing the Federal Coastal Zone Management Program.

[47 FR 21021, May 17, 1982, as amended at 57 FR 31113, July 14, 1992. Redesignated at 61 FR 33818, June 28, 1996]

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§923.133   Procedure for conducting continuing reviews of approved State CZM programs.

(a) As required by section 312(a), the Secretary shall conduct a continuing review of the performance of coastal States with respect to coastal management. Each review shall include a written evaluation with an assessment and detailed findings concerning the extent to which the State has implemented and enforced the program approved by the Secretary, addressed the coastal management needs identified in section 303(2)(A) through (K), and adhered to the terms of any grant, loan, or cooperative agreement funded under this title (16 U.S.C. 1451-1464).

(b) Continuing review procedures. (1) Each State will submit a financial assistance application or work program, whichever is applicable, on a timetable negotiated with the Assistant Administrator, describing the tasks to be undertaken by the State for the purpose of implementing and enforcing its approved CZM program.

(2) For the purpose of evaluation, the States will submit performance reports as specified in the Special Award Conditions, or, if the State is not receiving an award, as negotiated with the Assistant Administrator. The reports will address all areas identified in each State's Performance Report Guidelines.

(3) The Assistant Administrator will collect information on the State CZM programs on a continuing basis. At the beginning of each evaluation, the Assistant Administrator will analyze available information, identify information gaps, and formulate any additional information needs that will be the subject of a supplemental information request to the State.

(4) The Assistant Administrator may conduct a site visit as a part of the evaluation.

(5) Draft findings of the evaluation will be transmitted to the State. The State will have a minimum of two weeks from receipt of the draft findings to review them and provide comments to the Assistant Administrator. This review time may be extended upon request from the State.

(6) Within two weeks from receipt of the draft findings, a State may request a meeting with the Assistant Administrator to discuss the draft findings and the State's comments.

(7) The Assistant Administrator will issue final findings to the State CZM program manager and the head of the State CZM agency within 120 days of the last public meeting in the State. Copies of the final findings will be sent to all persons and organizations who participated in the evaluation. Participants may be asked to complete a card or sign-in sheet provided by the evaluation team indicating that they wish to receive the final findings. Notice of the availability of the final findings will also be published in the Federal Register.

(8) The final findings will contain a section entitled “Response to Written Comments.” This section will include a summary of all written comments received during the evaluation and NOAA's response to the comments. If appropriate, NOAA's response will indicate whether NOAA agrees or disagrees with the comment and how the comment has been addressed in the final findings.

(9) The Assistant Administrator may conduct issue or problem-specific evaluations between scheduled evaluations of approved State CZM programs. Such issue or problem-specific evaluations will be conducted to follow-up on potentially serious problems or issues identified in the most recent scheduled evaluation or to evaluate evidence of potentially serious problems or issues that may arise during day-to-day monitoring of State performance of grants tasks or other program implementation activities in the interim between scheduled evaluations. If the Assistant Administrator conducts an issue or problem specific evaluation, he/she will comply with the procedures and public participation requirements of §§923.133 and 923.134.

(c) Requirements for continuing review of approved State CZM programs—(1) Scope of continuing reviews. The continuing review of a State's approved CZM program will include an evaluation of the extent to which the State has:

(i) Implemented and enforced the program approved by the Secretary;

(ii) Addressed the coastal management needs identified in section 303(2) (A)-(K) (16 U.S.C. 1452); and

(iii) Adhered to the terms of financial assistance awards.

(2) Procedure for assessing adherence to the approved CZM program. (i) In reviewing adherence of a State to its approved CZM program, the Assistant Administrator will evaluate all aspects of the “approved CZM program” as defined in §923.132(d). The evaluation will examine the extent to which:

(A) The State is implementing and enforcing its approved CZM program;

(B) The management agency is effectively playing a leadership role in coastal issues, monitoring the actions of appropriate State and local agencies for compliance with the approved CZM program, and assuring the opportunity for full participation of all interested entities in CZM program implementation; and

(C) The management agency is effectively carrying out the provisions of Federal consistency.

(ii) The findings concerning the State's adherence to its approved CZM program will be used in negotiating the next financial assistance award or work program, whichever is applicable.

(3) Procedure for assessing how the State has addressed the coastal management needs identified in section 303(2) (A)-(K). The assessment of the extent to which the State has addressed the coastal management needs identified in section 303(2) (A)-(K) will occur as follows:

(i) The State, in its performance report, will provide the Assistant Administrator with a listing of all actions it is taking during the performance report period to address the national coastal management needs and how these actions relate to conditions in the State and the objectives and priorities in the State CZM program.

(ii) The Assistant Administrator, in the evaluation findings, will assess the extent to which the State's actions are targeted to meeting identified “needs” and the effectiveness of the actions in addressing those needs. Based on this assessment, the Assistant Administrator will make findings and recommendations of the extent to which each State is addressing the coastal management needs identified in section 303.

(iii) The findings concerning how the State has addressed the coastal management needs of section 303 will be used by the Assistant Administrator in negotiating the next financial assistance award.

(4) Procedure for assessing adherence to the terms of financial assistance awards. (i) Adherence to financial and administrative terms of each financial assistance award will be determined by the NOAA Grants Office and the Department of Commerce Inspector General. Adherence to programmatic terms of each financial assistance award will be determined by the Assistant Administrator and the NOAA Grants Office. These determinations will be made in accordance with the requirements outlined in these regulations, the findings of a financial audit of the award, and the following criteria:

(A) Compliance with the statute, regulations, and applicable OMB circulars;

(B) Submission of required reports and satisfactory completion of work products as described in the approved application and within the timeframe specified;

(C) Compliance with Standard Terms and Conditions and Special Award Conditions within the specified timeframes;

(D) Use of award funds only for approved projects; and

(E) Substantive modification of approved projects only with the prior agreement of NOAA.

(ii) The findings concerning adherence to the terms of financial assistance awards will be used in negotiating the next financial assistance award, if any.

(d) Requirements for continuing review of State coastal energy impact programs—(1) Scope of continuing reviews. The continuing review of State coastal energy impact programs will include the following elements:

(i) An evaluation of the State's adherence to the terms of financial assistance awards;

(ii) An evaluation of the relationship between coastal energy impact projects and the approved CZM program;

(iii) A description of energy activities in coastal areas and the impact resulting from these activities; and

(iv) An evaluation of the effectiveness of the coastal energy impact program in dealing with these consequences.

(2) Procedure for assessing adherence to the terms of financial assistance awards. See §923.133(c)(4).

[47 FR 21021, May 17, 1982, as amended at 57 FR 31114, July 14, 1992. Redesignated and amended at 61 FR 33818, June 28, 1996]

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§923.134   Public participation.

(a) As required by section 312(b) of the Act, in evaluating a coastal State's performance, the Secretary shall conduct the evaluation in an open and public manner, and provide full opportunity for public participation, including holding public meetings in the State being evaluated and providing opportunities for the submission of written and oral comments by the public. The Secretary shall provide the public with at least 45 days notice of such public meetings by placing a notice in the Federal Register, by publication of timely notices in newspapers of general circulation within the State being evaluated, and by communications with persons and organizations known to be interested in the evaluation. Each evaluation shall be prepared in report form and shall include written responses to the written comments received during the evaluation process.

(b) Requirements. (1) The Assistant Administrator will publish a Notice of Intent to Evaluate in the Federal Register at least 45 days before the public meeting(s). The notice will include a Statement of the availability of the State's performance report and the supplemental information request.

(2) Each State will issue a notice of the public meeting(s) in its evaluation by placing a notice in the newspaper(s) of largest circulation in the coastal area where the meeting(s) is being held and by taking other reasonable action to communicate with persons and organizations known to be interested in the evaluation, such as sending a notice of the meeting(s) to persons on its mailing list and publishing a notice in its newsletter, at least 45 days before the date of the public meeting(s). The State will provide a copy of such notice to the Assistant Administrator. States are encouraged to republish the newspaper notice at least 15 days before the date of the public meeting(s). The State will inform the public that oral or written comments will be accepted and that attendance at the public meeting(s) is not necessary for submission of written comments.

(3) Notice of the availability of final findings will be published in the Federal Register. The notice will state that copies of the final findings will be available to the public upon written request. Copies of the final findings will be sent to persons and organizations who participated in the evaluation, in accordance with 923.133(b)(7).

[47 FR 21021, May 17, 1982, as amended at 57 FR 31114, July 14, 1992. Redesignated and amended at 61 FR 33818, June 28, 1996]

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§923.135   Enforcement.

(a) Procedures and criteria for invoking and lifting interim sanctions. (1) As required by section 312(c) of the Act:

(i) The Secretary may suspend payment of any portion of financial assistance extended to any coastal State, and may withdraw any unexpended portion of such assistance, if the Secretary determines that the coastal State is failing to adhere to—

(A) The management program or a State plan developed to manage a national estuarine reserve established under section 315 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1461), or a portion of the program or plan approved by the Secretary; or

(B) The terms of any grant or cooperative agreement funded under this title (16 U.S.C. 1451-1464).

(ii) Financial assistance may not be suspended under paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this section unless the Secretary provides the Governor of the coastal State with—

(A) Written specifications and a schedule for the actions that should be taken by the State in order that such suspension of financial assistance may be withdrawn; and

(B) Written specifications stating how those funds from the suspended financial assistance shall be expended by the coastal State to take the actions referred to in paragraph (a)(1)(ii)(A) of this section.

(iii) The suspension of financial assistance may not last for less than 6 months or more than 36 months after the date of suspension.

(2) Requirements. (i) The Assistant Administrator will identify the need for interim sanctions through the continuing review process. The Assistant Administrator will use the criteria at §923.135(a)(3) in determining when to invoke interim sanctions.

(ii) The Assistant Administrator will issue the State a preliminary finding of non-adherence with the approved CZM program, or a portion thereof, and/or with a term or terms of a grant or cooperative agreement. This preliminary finding of non-adherence may be contained in the draft evaluation findings, or in a preliminary notification letter to the State CZM program manager. If the preliminary finding is contained in a preliminary notification letter, the Assistant Administrator will comply with the applicable public participation requirements of section 312(b) and NOAA's regulations at §923.134. The draft evaluation findings or preliminary notification letter containing a preliminary finding of non-adherence will explain that if the finding of non-adherence is issued, the State is subject to suspension of financial assistance and, if the State fails to take the actions specified pursuant to section 312(c) and this part, to withdrawal of program approval and financial assistance.

(iii) The State will be given 30 days from receipt of the draft evaluation findings or preliminary notification letter to comment on and rebut the preliminary finding of non-adherence. During this 30-day period, the State may request up to 15 additional days to respond, for a maximum of 45 days from receipt of the draft evaluation findings or preliminary notification letter.

(iv) After considering the State's comments, the Assistant Administrator will decide whether or not to issue a final finding of non-adherence. If the Assistant Administrator decides to issue a final finding of non-adherence, he/she will do so in the final evaluation findings issued pursuant to section 312(b) or in a final notification letter as provided by paragraph (a)(2)(ii) of this section. The Assistant Administrator may invoke interim sanctions provided by section 312(c) immediately or at any time after issuing the final evaluation findings or final notification letter containing the finding of non-adherence, but not later than the next regularly scheduled evaluation.

(v) If the Assistant Administrator decides to invoke interim sanctions, he/she will do so by sending the final evaluation findings or final notification letter to the Governor of the State and the State CZM program manager. The final evaluation findings or final notification letter will contain the information required in section 312(c)(2) (A) and (B). This information will include the amount of financial assistance to be suspended and redirected, the actions the State should take in order to have the suspension withdrawn, how the suspended funds shall be expended to take the required actions, and a schedule for taking the required actions. The final evaluation findings or final notification letter will also contain the length of the suspension, which may not last for less than 6 months or more than 36 months. The Assistant Administrator will establish the length of the suspension based on the amount of time that is reasonably necessary for the State to take the required actions. If the State can take the required actions faster than expected, the suspension can be withdrawn early (but not in less than six months).

(vi) The State must respond to the final evaluation findings or final notification letter by developing a proposed work program to accomplish the required actions on the schedule set forth in the final evaluation findings or final notification letter. The State may propose an alternative approach to accomplishing the required actions and/or an alternative schedule. The Assistant Administrator's approval of the State's work program will signify his/her agreement with the approach and schedule for accomplishing the actions necessary to withdraw the suspension.

(vii) The Assistant Administrator will monitor State performance under the work program. This may involve additional direction to the State through the grant administration process and/or a visit to the State by appropriate NOAA program staff, evaluation staff and/or other experts to work with the State on a specific problem or issue. The Assistant Administrator will consider proposals to revise the work program on a case-by-case basis, providing that the State will still be able to accomplish the necessary actions within a maximum of 36 months.

(viii) The State must document that it has taken the required actions on the schedule established under this section. The State must provide its documentation in writing to the Assistant Administrator. The Assistant Administrator may conduct a follow-up evaluation or otherwise revisit the State at his/her discretion.

(ix) If the Assistant Administrator determines that the required actions have been taken, the Assistant Administrator will promptly notify the Governor and the State program manager, in writing, that NOAA has withdrawn the suspension of financial assistance. If, however, the State does not take the required actions, then the Assistant Administrator will invoke the final sanction provisions of section 312(d) on program termination and withdrawal of all financial assistance.

(3) Criteria for invoking interim sanctions. (i) The Assistant Administrator may consider the following indicators of non-adherence to an approved State CZM program in determining whether to invoke interim sanctions.

(A) Ineffective or inconsistent implementation of legally enforceable policies included in the CZM program. Indicators of ineffective or inconsistent implementation could include: evidence of non-compliance with core authorities by the regulated community; insufficient monitoring and inspecting of coastal development to ensure that it conforms to program requirements and applicable conditions; or inadequate enforcement action when development is found not to be in compliance with the program or permit under which it is authorized or is found to be an unpermitted activity. In applying this indicator, NOAA will consider any available evidence of the impacts of ineffective or inconsistent implementation on coastal resources.

(B) Inadequate monitoring of the actions of State and local agencies for compliance with the program. Indicators of inadequate monitoring of these agencies could include: evidence of non-compliance of networked agencies with the CZM program, unresolved conflicts between agencies regarding what constitutes compliance with the program, or lack of a mechanism to ensure that all State agencies will adhere to the program or to approved local coastal programs pursuant to NOAA's regulations at 15 CFR 923.40 (and pursuant to new section 306(d)(15), after November 5, 1993 and after states have been given reasonable opportunity to comply with NOAA's implementing guidance).

(C) Non-compliance of local coastal programs with the approved State program. Indicators of non-compliance could include: Local permitting or zoning decisions that are inconsistent with State standards or criteria, widespread granting of variances such as to render a zoning program ineffective in meeting State standards or criteria, changes to local comprehensive plans or zoning maps that are inconsistent with State standards or criteria, or inadequate monitoring and enforcement, as described in paragraph (a)(3)(i)(A) of this section.

(D) Ineffective implementation of Federal consistency authority. Indicators of ineffective implementation could include: Not reviewing Federal activities, Federal licenses and permits, including offshore oil and gas exploration and development, and Federal financial assistance to State and local governments for consistency with the approved CZM program or employing review procedures that are not in accordance with State and NOAA regulations.

(E) Inadequate opportunity for intergovernmental cooperation and public participation in management program implementation. Indicators of inadequate opportunity could include: not carrying out procedures necessary to insure adequate consideration of the national interest in facilities which are necessary to meet requirements which are other than local in nature, not implementing effectively mechanisms for continuing consultation and coordination, not providing required notice that a management program decision would conflict with a local zoning ordinance, decision or other action pursuant to section 306(d)(3)(B)(i) and 15 CFR 923.57, or not providing opportunities for public participation in permitting processes, consistency determinations and other similar decisions pursuant to new section 306(d)(14) after November 5, 1993 and after states have been given reasonable opportunity to comply with NOAA's implementing guidance.

(F) Non-adherence to the terms of a grant or cooperative agreement, including the schedule for funded activities. The Assistant Administrator will also consider the extent to which priorities for expenditure of Federal funds reflect an appropriate priority for activities necessary to implement and enforce core program authorities effectively.

(G) Not submitting changes to the approved program for Federal approval on a schedule developed pursuant to 15 CFR 923.81(a) and 923.84(b)(1)(i) or developing and implementing changes to the approved program without Federal approval which are inconsistent with the Act or the approved program or which result in a reduced level of protection of coastal resources.

(ii) The Assistant Administrator may consider whether an indication of non-adherence is of recent origin (in which case the State may be given a reasonable opportunity to correct it) or has been repeatedly brought to the State's attention without corrective action in determining whether to invoke interim sanctions.

(b) Withdrawal of program approval and financial assistance. (1) As required by sections 312(d) and 312(e) of the Act:

(i) The Secretary shall withdraw approval of the management program of any coastal State and shall withdraw financial assistance available to that State under this title as well as any unexpended portion of such assistance, if the Secretary determines that the coastal State has failed to take the actions referred to in paragraph (a)(1)(ii)(A) of this section.

(ii) Management program approval and financial assistance may not be withdrawn under paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section, unless the Secretary gives the coastal State notice of the proposed withdrawal and an opportunity for a public hearing on the proposed action. Upon the withdrawal of management program approval under paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section, the Secretary shall provide the coastal State with written specifications of the actions that should be taken, or not engaged in, by the State in order that such withdrawal may be canceled by the Secretary.

(2) Requirements. (i) If the Assistant Administrator determines that the State has not taken the actions required in §923.135(a)(2), the Assistant Administrator will provide the Governor and the State CZM program manager with written notice of this finding and NOAA's obligation to withdraw program approval and financial assistance under this title. The State will be given 30 days from receipt of this notice to respond with evidence that it has taken the actions specified pursuant to §923.135(a)(2). During this 30-day period, the State may request up to 30 additional days to respond, for a maximum of 60 days from receipt of notice.

(ii) If the State does not respond satisfactorily within the time allowed, the agency will notify the State of intent to take the proposed action. This notice will be published in the Federal Register and will inform the State of its right to a public hearing.

(iii) If the State does not request a public hearing or submit satisfactory evidence that it has taken the actions specified pursuant to §923.135(a)(2) within 30 days of publication of this notice, and the Assistant Administrator determines that the State has failed to take the actions specified pursuant to §923.135(a)(2), the Assistant Administrator will withdraw program approval and financial assistance and will notify the State in writing of the decision and the reasons for it. The notification will set forth actions that must be taken by the State which would cause the Assistant Administrator to cancel the withdrawal.

(iv) If the State requests a public hearing within 30 days of publication of the notice of intent to withdraw program approval and financial assistance, the Assistant Administrator will publish 30 days advance notice of the hearing in the Federal Register and the newspaper(s) of largest circulation in the State's coastal zone. The hearing will be held in a location convenient to the citizens of the State's coastal zone and a record of the hearing will be maintained. Within 30 days of the completion of the hearing, the agency will make the determination as set forth in paragraph (b)(2)(iii) of this section.

(3) If program approval and financial assistance are withdrawn pursuant to this section, a notice will be placed in the Federal Register and Federal consistency under section 307 of the Act will cease to apply to the State's CZM program.

[47 FR 21021, May 17, 1982, as amended at 57 FR 31114, July 14, 1992. Redesignated and amended at 61 FR 33818, June 28, 1996]

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