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Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act

42 U.S.C. §§11001-11050

ELR STAT. EPCRA §§301-330

Statute Outline:

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Emergency planning and notification

The governor of each state shall appoint a state emergency response commission, which shall designate emergency planning districts and appoint members of a local emergency planning committee for each district. [EPCRA §301]

Each local emergency planning committee shall prepare an emergency response plan and review it annually. [EPCRA §303(a)] The statute sets forth the requirements for the plan. [EPCRA §303(c)] The state emergency response commission shall review the plan and recommend revisions. [EPCRA §303(e)]

The owner or operator of each facility at which extremely hazardous substances are present in excess of the established threshold planning quantity shall notify the state emergency planning commission of the presence of such substances. [EPCRA §302(c)] The statute sets forth the circumstances under which a facility owner or operator shall immediately notify the local emergency planning committee and state emergency planning commission of the release of a substance. [EPCRA §304(a), (b)] The statute specifies procedures for emergency notification and the information that the owner or operator must provide. [EPCRA §304]

Extremely hazardous substances list

The Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency shall publish a list of extremely hazardous substances and threshold planning quantities for each substance on the list. The Administrator may revise the list from time to time, taking into account the toxicity, reactivity, dispersability, combustibility, or flammability of the substance. [EPCRA §302(a)]

Material safety data sheets

Facilities required by the Occupational Safety and Health Act to prepare or possess a material safety data sheet (MSDS) for a hazardous chemical shall submit an MSDS for each such chemical, or a list of such chemicals, to the local emergency planning committee, the state emergency response commission, and the fire department with jurisdiction over the facility. [EPCRA §311(a)] The local emergency planning committee shall make MSDSs available to the public. [EPCRA §311(c)]

Hazardous chemical inventory forms

Facilities required to prepare or maintain an MSDS for a hazardous chemical shall prepare and submit an emergency and hazardous chemical inventory form to the appropriate local emergency planning committee, state emergency response commission, and fire department with jurisdiction over the facility. [EPCRA §312(a)]

Inventory forms shall include the following Tier I information for each category of hazardous chemicals at the facility: an estimate of the yearly maximum amount present, the average daily amount present, and the general location of hazardous chemicals in each category. [EPCRA §312(d)(1)]

A facility owner or operator shall provide Tier II information if so requested by a state emergency response commission, a local emergency planning committee, or a fire department with jurisdiction over the facility. [EPCRA §312(e)] Tier II information includes the common name of the chemical, an estimate of the yearly maximum amount and average daily amount of the chemical present, a brief description of the manner of storage of the chemical, and an indication of whether the owner elects to withhold location information from disclosure to the public. [EPCRA §312(d)(2)]

Toxic chemical release forms

Facilities that have 10 or more employees and are in certain Standard Industrial Classification categories shall complete toxic chemical release forms for certain toxic chemicals manufactured, processed, or used in quantities exceeding the toxic chemical threshold quantity during the preceding calendar year. [EPCRA §313(a), (c)]

Trade secrets

Facilities may, under certain circumstances, withhold information otherwise subject to reporting requirements on showing that the information constitutes a trade secret. Any person may petition the Administrator for the disclosure of the specific chemical identity of any chemical claimed as a trade secret. [EPCRA §322]

In a medical emergency or on a written statement of need, health professionals may obtain the specific chemical identity of chemicals claimed as trade secrets. [EPCRA §323(a), (b)] Health professionals obtaining information in this way must agree not to use the information for any purpose other than the health needs asserted in the statement of need. [EPCRA §323(d)]

Enforcement

The statute provides for civil, administrative, and criminal penalties for violations of various provisions. [EPCRA §325]

The statute authorizes any person to commence a civil action against facility owners and operators, the Administrator, a state governor, or a state emergency response commission for specific types of violations. [EPCRA §326(a)(1)] State and local governments may also initiate civil actions against facility owners and operators for failures to comply with various requirements of the statute. [EPCRA §326(a)(2)] 

Full Statute:

The statute is available from the U.S. Government Publishing Office: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2017-title42/html/USCODE-2017-title42-chap116.htm