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On October 17, 1986, the U.S. Congress passed the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act, also known as SARA Title III or the Emergency Planning and Community Right To Know Act (EPCRA), following a chemical disaster where an accidental release of Methyl Isocyanate injured and killed more than 2,000 people in Bhopal, India.

EPCRA was passed to ensure the public would have the right to know about hazardous and toxic chemicals in their communities. EPCRA also mandated planning for chemical emergencies and established a chain of command to assure that four major provisions were met:

  • Emergency Planning (Section 301-303
  • Emergency Release Notification (Section 304
  • Hazardous Chemical Storage Reporting Requirements (Section 311-312)
  • Toxic Chemical Release Inventory (Section 313)

Governors of each state were required to appoint a State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), responsible for implementing EPCRA provisions within each state. SERC's must be broad based and include agencies and departments concerned with:

  • Environment and natural resources
  • Emergency management
  • Public health
  • Occupational safety
  • Transportation

SERC's then designated local emergency planning districts and appointed a Local Emergency Planning Committee(LEPC) for each district.

LEPC's must include:

  • Elected state and local officials
  • Police, fire, emergency management, public health, environmental, hospital, and transportation officials
  • Representatives of facilities that produce, store, or use hazardous materials
  • Community groups with an interest in SARA Title III issues
  • Media

The primary responsibility of LEPC's include:

  • Conducting a hazard analysis
  • Reviewing existing plans
  • Evaluating available resources that could be made available in the event of a chemical accident

Within these broad tasks, LEPC's must:

  • Identify facilities that have extremely hazardous substances and transportation routes over which they are carried
  • Develop methods for determining the occurrence of a release and the probable affected area and population
  • Develop emergency response procedures, including evacuation and shelter-in-place plans
  • Designate a community coordinator and facility coordinator(s) to implement the plan
  • Develop and schedule a training program for emergency response to chemical emergencies
  • Determine the methods and develop schedules for exercising the plan

For more information, contact Baldwin County EMA.

Baldwin County Seal White

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