Enforcement in New England
EPCRA Assistance/Enforcement Program
The EPCRA Team, by building partnerships, serves, assists, and empowers "the community" to prepare and implement emergency planning and pollution prevention, and provide access to every individual's "right-to-know."
The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) of 1986 establishes requirements for Federal, State and local governments and industry regarding emergency planning and "Community Right-to-Know" reporting on hazardous and toxic chemicals. This law builds on numerous Federal, State and local programs aimed at helping communities to better meet their responsibilities in regard to potential chemical emergencies. The Right-to-Know provisions help to increase the public's knowledge and access to information on the presence of hazardous chemicals in their communities and releases of these chemicals into the environment. Through this mechanism States and communities, working with facilities, will be better able to improve chemical safety and protect public health and the environment.
Among the key provisions of EPCRA, Sections 311 and 312 require annual submission of chemical inventory data (known as Tier II reports) by facilities to state and local planning officials for incorporation into ongoing emergency planning. Section 313 requires facilities to quantify and submit annual releases of certain chemicals for incorporation into a national data base known as the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). The primary purpose of the TRI reporting requirement is to assist in research and development of regulations, guidelines and standards relating to routine discharges of chemical materials. Tier II data is available to the public through local emergency planning committees (LEPC); TRI data can be accessed through the TRI web site of EPA's Office of Environmental Information. A comprehensive picture of Federal and State EPCRA activity can be found at the web site of EPA's Emergency Management Programs.
Although EPCRA is a federal requirement, its output--development of comprehensive emergency plans and availability of chemical inventory and release data--is largely implemented at the state and local level, notably those provisions dealing with emergency planning.