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SARA Title III-The Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act
SARA Title III establishes requirements regarding emergency planning and "Community Right-to-Know" reporting on hazardous and toxic chemicals for federal, state, local, and tribal governments, as well as regulated facilities. The Community Right-to-Know provisions help increase the public's knowledge and access to information on chemicals at individual facilities, their uses, and releases into the environment. By working with facilities, state and local government can use this information to improve chemical safety and protect both public health and the environment.
The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) was enacted by Congress in 1980 to clean up the nation's hazardous waste sites and to provide for emergency response to releases of hazardous substances into the environment. CERCLA is also called Superfund, and the hazardous waste sites are known as Superfund sites. In response to continuing community concern regarding hazardous materials and chemical release tragedies, a reauthorization and expansion of Superfund was signed into law in 1986. It is known as the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA). Title III of SARA ("SARA Title III") is the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA).
SARA Title III is a federal act that is implemented in Michigan under an Executive Order from the Governor. In accordance with the act, the Governor established a State Emergency Response Commission (SERC). The SERC has 17 commissioners appointed by the Governor and is chaired by a representative of the Michigan State Police (MSP). The MSP Emergency Management Division oversees the emergency planning requirements in SARA Title III. The vice chair is a representative of the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). The SARA Title III Program handles the reporting requirements in SARA Title III. The EGLE SARA Title III Program receives all reports on behalf of the SERC.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enforces SARA Title III. The regulations implementing SARA Title III are codified in Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations, parts 350 through 372.
SARA Title III requires that the SERC establish Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs). There are 89 LEPCs in Michigan- one for each of the 83 counties, as well as LEPCs for the cities of Grand Rapids, Detroit, Livonia, Ann Arbor, Romulus and Wayne.
What Does SARA Title III Cover?
SARA Title III has four major components:
- Emergency planning (Sections 302 & 303)
- Emergency release notification (Section 304)
- Hazardous chemical inventory (Sections 311 & 312)
- Toxic chemical release inventory (Section 313)
The chemicals covered by each of the sections are different, as are the quantities that trigger reporting.