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Outer Continental Shelf (OCS)

The "outer continental shelf" is a jurisdictional term used to describe those submerged lands that lie seaward of state water boundaries; three marine leagues or 10.36 statutory miles off Florida's west coast and 3 nautical miles off the east coast. The federal government manages natural resources on the OCS, while the states manage the resources directly off their coasts in state waters.

The Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Program is responsible for conducting the Department's technical review of – and coordinating the state's review, oversight, monitoring and response to – activities that occur in federal waters on the OCS to ensure consistency with state laws and policies and that these activities do not adversely affect state resources. The reviews are conducted under federal laws, including the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, the Coastal Zone Management Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Deepwater Ports Act, the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act, the Rivers and Harbors Act, the Clean Air and Water Acts and the regulations that implement them.

Activities for which the OCS Program is responsible include the following:

  • Oil and gas leasing, exploration and development;
  • Pipelines and other offshore energy facilities;
  • Military use (e.g., testing);
  • Ocean disposal of dredged material (e.g., ports and channels);
  • Alternative energy projects (e.g., wind and current);
  • State and federal legislation and proposed regulations affecting offshore program areas;
  • Offshore sand and gravel leasing (e.g., beach restoration and construction aggregates);
  • Geological and geophysical activities (e.g., sub-bottom profiling and seismic); and
  • Artificial reefs.

The Program coordinates with federal and state agencies, local governments, interest groups and applicants to ensure projects meet the primary objective of avoiding and minimizing impacts to natural resources. Because many proposals involve issues that concern other agencies, the Program also works closely with the Florida Coastal Management Program, the Florida State Clearinghouse, and federal partner agencies.

The public can review OCS projects submitted for the state’s review at http://appprod.dep.state.fl.us/clearinghouse/. Comments on OCS projects can be sent to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Outer Continental Shelf Program, Douglas Building, 3900 Commonwealth Boulevard, MS 235, Tallahassee, Florida, 32399-3000 or via email to Shana.Kinsey@dep.state.fl.us or Debby.Tucker@dep.state.fl.us.

Last updated: March 05, 2014

  Florida Department of Environmental Protection, 3900 Commonwealth Boulevard M.S. 47  Tallahassee, Florida 32399
850-245-2118 (phone) / 850-245-2128 (fax) 
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