What is the LEPC & Why was it Created
A Local Emergency Planning Committee or LEPC, is a voluntary organization that is established in an Emergency Planning District designated by the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC). Both SERC and LEPCs were established to meet the requirements of the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA, a.k.a. the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA), Title III) for emergency response planning. LEPCs receive the annual Texas Tier Two (Chemical Inventory) Reports and use this information to perform hazard assessments for their communities.
History of the LEPC
LEPC (Local Emergency Planning Committee) is a product of federal legislation passed in the wake of the Bhopal disaster in India, where thousands of people died due to an accident involving hazardous chemicals. To prevent similar occurrences in our communities, Congress passed the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), also known as Title III of the Superfund Amendments and Re-authorization 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. Congress enacted the EPCRA regulations to benefit communities. Two of the main goals of this law are to:
- Provide a basis for each community to develop and tailor a chemical emergency planning and response program to suit the community needs.
- Provide the public with a right-to-know attitude to identify, quantify, locate, and determine the physical and chemical properties of hazardous substances in the community.