Where EPCRA Needs Improvement
Not everything has worked out for the EPCRA law. Many people, firefighters, and facility owners and operators know little or nothing about the EPCRA law and its requirements. Some fire departments have never implemented EPCRA or used EPCRA information.
There is not complete compliance with EPCRA, from facility to LEPC to SERC compliance, and this has caused avoidable firefighter deaths and injuries. There may not be enforcement against facilities that do not comply with the EPCRA law. EPCRA doesn't address the accuracy of reported chemical hazards, the adequacy of emergency plans at the facility or planning agency level, the adequacy of the written follow-up report, etc. The EPCRA law also does not require an adequate response to a release of chemicals, and many citizens have felt their problems were unaddressed or overlooked when something has gone wrong.
There has never been adequate funding for EPCRA to work, and it has been viewed by some as an unfunded mandate from the federal government. Some LEPCs do not have funding, a budget, or a paid support staff, and this can be a real obstacle for LEPC effectiveness. The use of the BOLDER Project software helps ease the problems associated with these issues, reducing the costs of implementing EPCRA for fire departments, LEPCs, SERCs, and facilities.
LEPCs often do not have all the diverse representation that the law requires. LEPCs can be too protective of facilities and not as responsive to firefighter and public concerns as they could be.
LEPCs are often unable to communicate risk to the public.
There is still a widespread lack of information about the law and emergency procedures.
If there is a chemical disaster, the facility causing the incident may be unable to pay for the cleanup or the consequences such as property devaluation, loss of life, medical bills, etc. This leaves the burden to the taxpayers, or to unfortunate, innocent, victims. A chemical disaster at a neighboring facility can ruin a adjacent business.
Many businesses will not survive the liabilities (expenses caused by damage to property and people, costs of cleanup, penalties and fines) surrounding a major chemical spill or disaster. Preventing a spill is in the financial best interests of the business. Cutting costs in engineering practices and/or emergency preparedness can be fatal to the business if something goes wrong.
Many small facilities using and storing hazardous chemicals would never be able to afford a cleanup, or pay for the damages to human health and the environment caused by a severe chemical disaster, but the chemicals are just as lethal no matter who owns them. Using the BOLDER Project software is an excellent form of insurance against a catastrophic event.