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Virginia CZM Program: 2006 Coastal Grant Project Description and Final Summary

Project Task:



Environmental Law Institute

Project Title:

Assessment for Off-shore Energy Development Impact Readiness: State Comparisons and Recommendations

Project Description as Proposed:

The Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program needs information in order to be prepared for the potential impacts of off-shore energy development activities including, but not limited to activities related to oil & gas, wind, wave, tidal, and biomass energy proposals.  The Virginia General Assembly has supported a Coastal Energy Research Consortium to look at many of the technical and science-related issues related to various forms of energy activities.  There is currently a need to examine the law & policy framework in place to deal with potential activities, and specifically to determine whether and to what extent Virginia can be made ready to address likely issues related to coastal energy development in advance of major proposals that may require decisions.

The Environmental Law Institute (ELI), through a series of projects, will (1) Identify issues and potential impacts to Virginia’s coastal environment from anticipated or unanticipated offshore energy development, (2) Examine and compile existing and proposed policy responses in other selected coastal states confronting these issues, (3) Examine existing Virginia laws and programs to evaluate the extent to which Virginia is prepared to respond to anticipated offshore energy development, and (4) Develop recommendations to improve upon Virginia’s existing coastal zone management program and legal framework to address these needs.  This project will focus on comparing Virginia's CZM program capabilities for addressing the impacts identified in Phase I to those of other states.  Based on this comparison, ELI will make recommendations for strengthening Virginia's CZM program where needed.

Federal Funding:


Project Contact:

James McElfish; (202) 939-3840;

Project Status:

4/1/2008 - 12/31/2008; Project Completed

Final Product Received:

Virginia Offshore Energy Development Law and Policy Review and Recommendations: Benchmarking Virginia's Coastal Zone Management Program's Capacity to Respond to Coastal Impacts of Potential Energy Development Activities (PDF)

Project Summary Provided by Grantee:

The Environmental Law Institute conducted interviews and reviewed law, policies, technical literature and other materials to identify the policy responses by states to offshore energy development. Analysis included review of California, Oregon, Washington, Delaware, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Texas, New Jersey, and North Carolina. Environmental Law Institute staff also reviewed Virginia state laws and policies, and conducted interviews with Virginia officials, including agency officials and state and local officials.  Interviews included DEQ, VMRC, VIMS, SCC, DGIF, Hampton Roads PDC, VCERC, and others. This resulted in a publication evaluating the capacity of existing Virginia Law to address coastal impacts of potential offshore energy development activities entitled “Virginia Offshore Energy Development – Law and Policy Review and Recommendations.” This publication will be available both on the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Website and at 

Results were further discussed with Virginia’s Coastal Policy Team, and advice provided in connection with implementation of recommendations.  The report will be of value to citizens, policymakers, and others interested in coastal and offshore energy development activities and potential impacts and responses. Because of its coverage of current practices in a number of coastal states it is already proving useful outside Virginia as well as within the Commonwealth.

Disclaimer: This project summary provides the federal dollars initially awarded to the grantee. Due to underexpenditure or reprogramming of grant funds, this figure may change. For more information on the allocation of coastal grant funds, please contact Laura McKay, Virginia Coastal Program Manager, at 804.698.4323 or

A more detailed Scope of Work for this project is available. Please direct your request for a copy to


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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000

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