Environmental Planning & Community Right-to-Know Act
Public demand for chemical release information skyrocketed in the mid-1980s. In 1986, a deadly cloud of highly toxic pesticide killed thousands of people in Bhopal, India. That same year, a serious chemical release at a plant in West Virginia, USA hospitalized 100 individuals. These events led to the writing and passage of the EPCRA by Congress. President Reagan signed this in October 1986, and Congress implemented it in 1987.
The EPCRA has significantly helped to protect human health and the environment. This law has given valuable information to communities and emergency planners.
Find out more about the history of the EPCRA on the EPA's interactive timeline.
- What does the EPRCA do?
The purpose of the EPRCA is two-fold:
- To establish the structure of the IERC and LEPCs - how local responders plan for an outbreak
- To inform the public of a chemical release in their area and tell them how to respond
According to the EPCRA, communities must know about their fixed and transported chemicals. This law also involves the community in:
- Developing emergency planning and response
- Identifying facilities that might be subject to the law
- Assuring implementation of the EPCRA law
The EPCRA provides state and local infrastructure to plan for chemical emergencies. Facilities that store, use, or release certain chemicals have various reporting requirements. This information is available to the public. Interested parties may learn about potentially dangerous chemicals in their community.
- What does this law say about notifying the public?
Immediately after the release, the owner or operator of a facility must notify:
- The community emergency coordinator for the LEPC
- Any area likely affected by the release
- The IERC
through telephone, radio, or in-person.
During an incident with the transportation or storage of a hazardous substance, persons on the scene must dial 911. If 911 is unavailable, persons must call the operator.
Notice will include each of the following (to the extent known at the time of the notice and so long as no delay occurs in responding to the emergency):
- The chemical name or identity of any substance involved in the release
- An indication of whether the substance is extremely hazardous
- An estimate of the quantity of any such substance released into the environment
- The time and duration of the release
- The medium or media into which the release occurred
- Any known or anticipated acute or chronic health risks associated with the emergency
- If appropriate, advice on medical attention necessary for exposed individuals
- Proper precautions to take, including evacuation (unless such information is readily available to the community emergency coordinator under the emergency plan)
- The name and phone number of the person(s) to contact for further information
- Follow up emergency notice
As soon as possible after a release, the owner/operator must write and send out a follow-up, emergency notice. More than one notice may be necessary as more information becomes available. This notice will detail, update, and include more information about:
- Actions that respond to and contain the release
- Any known or anticipated acute or chronic health risks associated with the release
- Where appropriate, advice on medical attention necessary for exposed individuals
- What is available to the public according to this law?
- Emergency response plan
- Material safety data sheet (MSDS)
- Inventory form
- Toxic chemical release form
- Follow-up emergency notice
is available to the general public. Visit the Allen County Office of Homeland Security during our normal working hours. A facility owner or operator may ask the IERC and LEPC to conceal the location of any specific chemical.
Each year, the Allen County LEPC announces on this website that we have submitted the emergency response plan, MSDS, and inventory forms. This announcement will state that we will publish follow-up emergency notices, when necessary.
- Where can I read more about this law?
Check out the EPA’s page all about the Environmental Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.