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SARA Title III/Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (ECPRA)



Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) establishes requirements for Federal, state and local governments, Indian Tribes, and industry regarding emergency planning and "Community Right-to-Know" reporting on hazardous and toxic chemicals. The Community Right-to-Know provisions help increase the public's knowledge and access to information on chemicals at individual facilities, their uses, and releases into the environment. States and communities, working with facilities, can use the information to improve chemical safety and protect public health and the environment.

EPCRA was passed in response to concerns regarding the environmental and safety hazards posed by the storage and handling of toxic chemicals. These concerns were triggered by the disaster in Bhopal, India, in which more than 2,000 people suffered death or serious injury from the accidental release of methyl isocyanate. To reduce the likelihood of such a disaster in the United States, Congress imposed requirements on both states and regulated facilities.

Key Provisions of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act

Sections 301 to 303. Emergency Planning Local governments are required to prepare chemical emergency response plans, and to review plans at least annually. State governments are required to oversee and coordinate local planning efforts. Facilities that maintain Extremely Hazardous Substances (EHSs) on-site in quantities greater than corresponding Threshold Planning Quantities (TPQs) must cooperate in emergency plan preparation. Learn more....

Section 304. Emergency Notification Facilities must immediately report accidental releases of EHS chemicals and "hazardous substances" in quantities greater than corresponding Reportable Quantities (RQs) defined under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) to state and local officials. Information about accidental chemical releases must be available to the public. Learn more....

Sections 311 and 312. Community Right-to-Know Requirements Facilities manufacturing, processing, or storing designated hazardous chemicals must make Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) describing the properties and health effects of these chemicals available to state and local officials and local fire departments. Facilities must also report, to state and local officials and local fire departments, inventories of all on-site chemicals for which MSDSs exist. These inventories(Tier I or Tier II reports)  must be reported by March 1 of each year. Information about chemical inventories at facilities and MSDSs must be available to the public. Learn more...

Section 313. Toxics Release Inventory Facilities must complete and submit a Toxic Chemical Release Inventory Form annually for each of the more than 600 Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) chemicals that are manufactured or otherwise used above the applicable threshold quantities. Learn more...

Section 322 Trade Secrets Facilities are allow to withhold the specific chemical identity from the reports filed under sections 303, 311, 312 and 313 of EPCRA if the facilities submit a claim with substantiation to EPA.   Learn more...

Dinwiddie County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC)

The Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) is a federally mandated entity composed of

  • Elected state and local officials
  • Police, fire, civil defense, and public health professionals
  • Environment, transportation, and hospital officials
  • Facility representatives
  • Representatives from community groups and the media

In the wake of the Bhopal disaster in India in the 1980's Congress passed the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), also known as Title III of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA), in 1986. EPCRA establishes requirements for businesses and for federal, state, and local governments regarding emergency planning and community right-to-know (CRTK) reporting for hazardous chemicals. The CRTK provision in EPCRA helped increase awareness about the presence of chemicals in their communities and releases of these chemicals into the environment. Many State legislatures also enacted CRTK laws that are consistent with federal law. As a result, States and communities, working with industry, are better able to protect public health and the environment.

The role of the LEPC is to form a partnership with the local government and industries as a resource for enhancing hazardous materials preparedness. LEPCs must develop an emergency response plan, review it at least annually, and provide information about chemicals in the community to citizens.

The membership comes from the local area and should be familiar with factors that affect safety, the environment, and the economy of the community. That expertise is essential as the LEPC advises the writers of the local emergency management plan, so that the plan is tailored to the needs of the County.

In addition to its formal duties, the LEPC serves as a focal point in the community for information and discussion about all hazard emergency planning. The LEPC also focuses on educating citizens and businesses in emergency preparedness. The LEPC meets on a quarterly basis.

The Dinwiddie County LEPC can be reached to request information, make inquiries or file reports on any matter related to EPCRA at P.O. Box 70, Dinwiddie, VA 23841 or by calling (804) 469-5388.

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