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American Bar Association

Ocean Zoning, Marine Spatial Planning, and Recent Developments in Coastal Zone Management

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Overview / Abstract:

While ocean zoning is a new and emerging area of coastal zone management law, three states have already adopted ocean zoning plans, in each case with the primary purpose of facilitating offshore alternative energy development, such as wind energy and wave energy. A number of other states are considering similar measures. At the federal level, the Obama administration has recently adopted a National Ocean Policy and is in the process of implementing regional planning councils to, inter alia, engage in marine spatial planning. Marine spatial planning involves the study of offshore waters and the drawing of plans for their use for purposes including protecting sensitive environmental habitats, fostering alternative energy uses, and avoiding user conflicts in offshore waters. These initiatives are not without controversy, and opposition has surfaced at the state level and at the national level. This program will introduce the emerging areas of marine spatial planning and ocean zoning, explain what it is and what it isn't, and provide details of how ocean zoning plans can be considered and adopted by states, what those plans can do, and how such measures fit into the existing coastal zone management regulatory scheme. Importantly, this program will also detail how states can use existing provisions of federal laws and regulations to dramatically increase their influence over not only their own state waters but also over the waters of other states and even over federal waters. This can be done by a state to prevent unwanted activities in federal or state waters that may adversely impact a state's coastal zone management plan as well as to foster alternative energy development or other economic development uses of offshore waters.


Sep 11, 2020


Attorney , Paralegal





Credits / Hours

1.00 General CLE Credit Hours

Presenters / Authors / Faculty

John M Boehnert

Sponsors / Supporters / Grant Providers

Center for Professional Development
Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division
Section of State and Local Government Law

Keywords / Search Terms

American Bar Association

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