Local Emergency Planning Committee & Citizen Corp Council

The LEPC is a creature of federal law. Its membership and officers are determined by the committee members and subject to approval by the Colorado Emergency Planning Commission. The membership is a broad cross-section of facilities, response agencies, and members of the public.

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The primary function of the LEPC is administration of the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) . We are also very active in the Risk Management Planning that facilities are required to perform under the Accidental Release Prevention Program at §112(r) of the Clean Air Act. We are currently creating a local implementation model for this program under a grant from U.S. EPA.

 

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The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) is a federal statute that requires facilities to report their use of extremely hazardous substances.  As its name suggests, the purpose of EPCRA is to enhance emergency planning and to facilitate public access to chemical information about facilities.  EPCRA requires States to create state emergency response commissions (SERCs) which, in turn, must designate local emergency planning committees (LEPCs).  Covered facilities must provide the SERC, their LEPC, and their local fire department with chemical inventory data and emergency plans.  LEPCs prepare emergency response plans based on information received from facilities and they also serve as conduits for the transfer of information from facilities to the public.  EPCRA also requires covered facilities to report their routine releases of certain toxic chemicals.
Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act requires facilities with more than a threshold quantity of a regulated substance in a single process to comply with the Accidental Release Prevention - Risk Management Program regulations.  Covered facilities must submit a Risk Management Plan (RMP) to EPA and other local entities by June 21, 1999.  The primary elements of the RMP are the hazard assessment, the prevention program, the emergency response plan, the accident history, and the off-site consequence analysis.  Building on EPCRA, RMPs will increase the public availability of information pertaining to facilities that use, manufacture, or store toxic and flammable substances.  The goal of Section 112(r) is to prevent accidental chemical releases that threaten health, safety, and the environment.  "Preventing accidental releases of hazardous chemicals is the shared responsibility of industry, government, and the public.  The first steps toward accident prevention are identifying the hazards and assessing the risks.  Once information about chemicals is openly shared, industry, government, and the community can work together toward reducing the risk to public health and the environment."  (Preamble to EPA RMP regulations.)