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Policy Statement 162 - Coastal Development

ASCE Policy Statement                                                                                                           162           




Approved by the Energy, Environment, and Water Policy Committee on March 8, 2012
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on March 20, 2012
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 20, 2012



The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports:

  • Responsible use and development of coastal resources.
  • Sound conservation practices and protection of the public health and environment consistent with sustainable development.
  • Regulatory control of coastal regions.
  • Protection of public health, safety, and welfare, and the environment appropriately addressed for all coastal projects.
  • Emergency notification and evacuation plans as part of coastal projects.
  • Streamlined regulatory procedures and creative partnering among federal, state, and local governments to adopt coastal development policies.
  • Coastal development approval in a timely manner.


Use of coastal resources can embrace a wide range of activities such as development of oil, gas and minerals, wastewater disposal, fishing, recreation and conservation. Viable projects in coastal areas have had costly delays or have been abandoned due to the permitting processes.  There is a need for an improved, streamlined regulatory process to address issues in a timely manner, and develop solutions which meet the needs of the society and protect the environment.   An alternative approach to regulatory oversight could include, but not be limited to, creating a lead agency, much like the agency coordination process used for wetland permitting under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.  The impact of recent hurricanes and continuing concern over climate change and its potential impact on ocean levels and coastal development reinforce the need for planning, practices, and regulation consistent with sustainable development. 


Civil engineers are responsible for the efficient design and operation of coastal facilities such as shore protection, drainage, water supply, transportation, structures and pipelines.  Proper regulation of coastal development will result in sound conservation practices and protection of public health and the environment.   


ASCE Policy Statement 162 
First Approved pre-1974