LEPC and SERC Communications and Updates

Studies show that LEPC effectiveness is improved when LEPCs communicate with each other and share ideas. To this end, LEPCs and SERCs may find it helpful to regularly review the data at http://www.annap.infi.net/~rschel/lepcexchange.html. LEPCs and SERCs can also sign up for regular email updates at this site. The site even provides information about setting up and designing websites so that LEPCs and SERCs may create their own sites.

LEPC Studies and Recommendations

A 1997 EPA data management study of LEPCs found that 80% of LEPCs have computerized their data or plan to do so soon.

A 1994 review of EPCRA compliance found that 80% of the LEPCs are compliant with EPCRA, with a good relationship existing with regulated entities. Most LEPCs are proactive beyond the minimum requirements of EPCRA. But all LEPCs are weak in Community Right-To-Know.

Dr. Paul Hill of the National Institute of Chemical Studies and head of the Chemical Safety Accident Board said at a 1997 EPA conference that more and better information is what the 4,000+ LEPCs in America need. He questioned how LEPCs will meet:

  1. basic safety and planning responsibilities;
  2. the expectations of the Clean Air Act 112r RMP Program;
  3. their resource needs.

In a study of LEPC makeup around country: 81.9% had media, 8.1% union, EPCRA reporters 87.7%, chemical industry association members 63.8%, chambers of commerce 28.1%, Red Cross 66%.

Hill suggestioned that LEPCs:

  1. use 303(d) to get the facility data for planning;
  2. meet with facilities to discuss safety;
  3. pursue "Good Neighbor" agreements;
  4. push accident prevention;
  5. advocate toxics use reduction;
  6. comment on overall local planning and zoning regulations.

Mike Lindell of Texas A&M University said at a 1997 EPA conference that:

  1. low probability, high consequence planning is not happening.
  2. most LEPCs estimated hazard zones, but they use DOT information, which is improper.
  3. few LEPCs provide some public warning system and notification to emergency responders.
LEPCs have a perception of their role, but see themselves as technical vs. political arenas; analyses vs. processes.

LEPC effectiveness is best with technical assistance and funding; second is with technical assistance and no funding; worst is without technical assistance or funding.

Community support had some moderate correlations with LEPC effectiveness. The best LEPCs had a paid staff, a broad representation of community groups, a formal subcommittee structure, and a formal orientation for new members.

Congress admitted that LEPCs DO NOT communicate risk to the public, so Congress passed CAA 112r.