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The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) was passed by Congress in 1986. EPCRA was included as Title III of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) and is sometimes referred to as SARA Title III. EPCRA provides for the collection and availability of information regarding the use, storage, production and release of hazardous chemicals to the public and emergency responders in your community. The law promotes a working relationship among government at all levels, business and community leaders, environmental and other public interest organizations, and individual citizens to improve hazard communications and emergency planning.
In 1988, the Ohio General Assembly passed Substitute Senate Bill 367. This law, Chapter 3750 of the Ohio Revised Code (ORC), provides for the implementation of EPCRA in Ohio. The administrative body for the implementation of Chapter 3750 is the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC).
SERC is made up of nine state agencies: Ohio Environmental Protection Agency; Emergency Management Agency; Attorney General's Office; Health; Transportation; Natural Resources; State Fire Marshal; State Highway Patrol; and Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. Additionally, SERC has 10 voting members: two representing environmental advocacy; two representing industry trade association; three representing firefighting; and three representing local government/municipalities. Two members of the legislature serve as non-voting members.
SERC appoints members of the Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPC) of each emergency planning district. In Ohio, each county has been designated as its own emergency planning district, with the exception of Montgomery and Greene counties, which combine their planning efforts. LEPC members include representatives from each of the following groups or organizations: elected state and local officials; law enforcement; emergency management; firefighting; first aid, hospitals and health; local environmental authorities; transportation; broadcast and/or print media; community groups; and owners and operators of subject facilities.
SERC appoints LEPC members to two two-year terms of office. LEPCs use Ohio EPA's inventory information to develop and exercise their local planning district's emergency response plan(s).