The mission of the Schuylkill County Local Emergency Planning Committee(LEPC) is to protect and serve all the citizens of the County by promoting hazardous materials safety for all sectors of the community. The LEPC is a group of community representatives from the disciplines of business & industry, elected officials, emergency management & 911, emergency medical services & public health, environmental, faith-based & non-profit, fire & hazardous materials, law enforcement, municipal authority & government, media & public relations, planning, private citizen, school, colleges & universities, and volunteers.
Since the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) was passed in 1986 U.S. Communities have faced new concerns, issues and challenges including the following emergencies: 2001 World Trade Center Bombing, 2005 Hurricane Katrina, 2006 June Floods in Mid-Atlantic, 2011 Tropical Storm Lee, and 2012 Hurricane Sandy.
Faced with the changing dynamics of community preparedness many states and communities across the country are transitioning to an All-Hazards approach for their LEPC’s. We are currently reorganizing to facilitate an “All-Hazards” approach to providing emergency preparedness, response and recovery advice across the County. Looking beyond hazardous materials and address all hazards that could threaten our communities. LEPC’s can provide a great forum for awareness and planning for all types of hazards because their membership represents a wide cross section of the community that would respond in a local emergency. Also, our mission already includes planning, training and conducting exercises.
Landmark Hazardous Material Laws and Regulations
In the 1980s, Americans were becoming increasingly aware of the hazardous chemicals in their workplaces and communities. During that decade, several landmark laws and regulations were passed in favor of community and workplace right-to-know movements. Key legislation includes the following:
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980, later known as the Superfund Act. For more information on CERCLA visit: www.epa.gov/superfund/policy/cercla.htm
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 29 CFR 1910.1200 – Hazard Communication https://www.osha.gov/law-regs.html this standard went into effect in 1985.
Superfund Amendment and Reauthorization Act (SARA) of 1986. Title III of SARA consists of the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA). For more information, visit: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/policy/sara.htm
Pennsylvania Act 165
The Hazardous Material Emergency Planning and Response Act (Act 1990-165) was enacted December 7, 1990, and became effective 60 days thereafter. This legislation, hereafter to be referred to as Act 165, established several fees which were to terminate 10 years after the effective date of the Act unless reestablished by the General Assembly by statute. Pursuant thereto an amendment was enacted December 20, 2000, and became effective February 18, 2001 to re-establish the fees. This amendment also made minor revisions to the Act, the most significant being reduction of the time frame in which chemical facilities are required to report the presence of hazardous chemicals on site from within 30 days after receipt, as required by federal statute, to five business days as required by Pennsylvania
The Pennsylvania Hazardous Materials Emergency Planning and Response Act formalized compliance with the federal Superfund Amendment and Reauthorization Act (SARA, Title III) which mandates the establishment of a chemical safety program to include planning for possible spills and releases of hazardous chemicals, and for making available information regarding potential hazards to those who may be affected.
Schuylkill County Local Emergency Planning Committee
LEPC responsibilities are essentially those established by SARA Title III, with additional specific requirements under Pennsylvania Act 165. In Pennsylvania, an offsite emergency response plan is required for each SARA planning facility. This plan becomes a supplement to the county emergency operations plan.
The Schuylkill County Board of Commissioners officially appointed the first members of the Schuylkill County LEPC on April 10, 1991.
Membership & Organization
LEPC members are from within the community and play a crucial role in local planning and right-to-know programs. Among other things they are familiar with factors that affect public safety, the environment, and the local economy.
The Committee is established with a Chair and Vice-Chair and organized by the sub-committees of training, public awareness, & planning. All meetings shall be open to the general public and scheduled on a quarterly basis.
The following Sub-Committees have been established Executive Board, Planning, Training, and Public Awareness. Sub-Committee meetings are scheduled on a quarterly basis.
Role in the Community
Traditionally the role of the LEPC consists of partnering with state and local governments, businesses, and responders to enhance the following with regard to hazardous materials: Prevention, Preparedness, Response and recovery, Planning, & Exercising and training
LEPC’s give communities access to key information about hazardous substances. Companies are required to submit this information if they exceed designated reporting quantities. LEPC’s also work with companies to develop comprehensive emergency response plans.
Local Emergency Planning Committee Meetings
LEPC Meetings are held on a quarterly basis at the following location(Unless Otherwise Noted):
Schuylkill County Office of Public Safety Building
435 North Centre Street
Pottsville, PA 17901
2017 Meeting Dates
March 9, June 8, September 14, and December 14
Sub-committee meetings are called by the committee chair on an as needed basis and may be conducted in a conference call or web based meeting format to accommodate the varied schedule of the volunteer members.