The Williams County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) Is established under the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act, or EPCRA. This was passed as Title III of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA Title III) on October 17, 1986. This provides for a robust chemical emergency preparedness and response capability.
Federal and State laws require all counties to have a Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) to develop a chemical emergency response plan and update it yearly; establish procedures for conducting its public information and education on chemical emergencies; receive and process requests for information from the public on hazardous materials; notify the public of all LEPC activities and meetings; and to receive reports and information on hazardous materials as specified in the Ohio Revised Code (O.R.C.). The LEPC is also required to exercise the chemical emergency response plan on a yearly basis. Once every four years, the yearly exercise has to be a full-scale exercise where all aspects of an emergency response are exercised together. The remaining years can be tabletop or functional style exercises.
The LEPC has other responsibilities besides developing an emergency response plan. The committee receives emergency releases and hazardous chemical inventory information submitted by local facilities and must make this information available to the public upon request. The LEPC has the authority to request additional information from facilities for their own planning purposes or on behalf of others. Members may want to visit facilities in the community to find out what they are doing to reduce hazards, prepare for accidents and reduce hazardous inventories and releases. LEPCs are able to take civil actions against facilities if they fail to provide the information required under the Act.
Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) are approved by the Local County Commissioners and appointed by the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC). LEPCs must consist of representatives of all of the following groups and organizations:
Elected and local officials
Local environmental and transportation agencies
Broadcast and/or print media
Representatives of facilities subject to the emergency planning and community right-to-know requirements