Oregon’s Failure to Submit an Approvable Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program

January 13, 2014
Jeanette Schuster authored the below article for ENR Case Notes, Vol. 16, published January 2014 by the Oregon State Bar Environmental and Natural Resources Section.

Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program: Intent To Find That Oregon Has Failed To Submit an Approvable Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program, 78 Fed. Reg. 77104 (Dec. 20, 2013).

On December 20, 2013, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice of intent (NOI) to find that Oregon has failed to submit an approvable Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program (Coastal Program) under Section 6217(a) of the Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments (CZARA). The public now has 90 days to comment on this proposal. If the agencies ultimately reject Oregon’s Coastal Program, the Oregon Coastal Management Program and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s nonpoint source management program will each lose 30 percent of federal funding. 

Oregon’s Program was conditionally approved by NOAA and EPA in 1998. The agencies’ NOI states that, while Oregon has since 1998 made incremental modifications to its program and met most of the required conditions, Oregon has not fully satisfied several conditions related to (i) new development, (ii) onsite sewage disposal systems, and (iii) additional management measures for forestry. The drivers for the agencies’ decision to disapprove of Oregon's Program, however, are logging and logging roads because coastal pollution from those activities was the basis of a 2009 lawsuit brought by Northwest Environmental Advocates against the agencies under CZARA. The lawsuit resulted in a settlement agreement that required the agencies by November 15, 2013 to either (i) approve Oregon’s Program without conditions or (ii) make a finding that Oregon failed to submit an approvable Program. A PDF of the notice is available at