LEPC History

The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986

The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 establishes requirements for Federal, State and local governments and industry regarding emergency planning and "Community Right-to- Know" reporting on hazardous and toxic chemicals. This law builds upon EPA's Chemical Emergency Preparedness Program (CEPP) and numerous State and local programs aimed at helping communities to better meet their responsibilities in regard to potential chemical emergencies. The Community Right-to-Know provisions will help increase the public's knowledge and access to information on the presence of hazardous chemicals in their communities and releases of these chemicals into the environment. States and communities, working with facilities, will be better able to improve chemical safety and protect public health and the environment.

The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (also known as SARA Title III or EPCRA) provisions has four major sections

  • Emergency Planning (Section 301-303)
  • Emergency Release Notification (Section 304)
  • Community Right-to-Know Reporting Requirements (Sections 311-312)
  • Toxic Chemical Release Inventory (Section 313)

Information from these four reporting requirements will help States and communities develop a broad perspective of chemical hazards for the entire community as well as for individual facilities.

Local Emergency Planning Committees

Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) are appointed by the State Emergency Response Commissions (SERCs). LEPCs must consist of representatives of all of the following groups and organizations:

  • elected and local officials
  • law enforcement
  • emergency management
  • fire fighting
  • first aid
  • health
  • agriculture
  • education
  • labor
  • local environmental and transportation agencies
  • hospitals
  • broadcast and print media
  • community groups
  • representatives of facilities subject to the emergency planning and community right-to-know requirements

The LEPC's initial task was to develop emergency plans to prepare for and respond to chemical emergencies. The EPA's list of extremely hazardous substances provided a focus for setting priorities in the planning effort. The plans were required to be completed by October 17, 1988. These plans must be reviewed annually, and updated. Because the LEPC's members represent the community, they should be familiar with factors that affect public safety, the environment, and the economy of the community. This expertise will be essential as the LEPC develops plans tailored to the needs of its planning district.

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Muskegon County Emergency Services