The Governor of each state designates a State Emergency Response Commission (SERC). The SERCs, in turn, designates local emergency planning districts and appoints a Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) for each district.
The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Council (PEMC) serves as the SERC required by SARA Title III. The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) is the executive administrative agent for the PEMC.
Each of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties is designated as a Local Emergency Planning District and each is required to have a Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC).
LEPC responsibilities are established by SARA Title III, with additional specific requirements under 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.
More than 3,200 SARA planning facilities have been identified in Pennsylvania.
LEPC membership must include, at a minimum, local officials, including police, fire, civil defense, public health, transportation, and environmental professionals, as well as representatives of facilities subject to the emergency planning requirements, community groups, and the media. The LEPC must develop an emergency response plan, review it at least annually, and provide information about chemicals in the community to citizens.
Planning activities of LEPCs and facilities initially focused on, but were not limited to, the extremely hazardous substances (EHS’s) listed by EPA in 40 CFR 355, Appendix A (commonly referred to as the List of Lists). The List includes the threshold planning quantity (TPQ – minimum limit) for each substance. Under section 302 of SARA Title III, any facility that has any of the listed EHS’s at or above its threshold planning quantity must notify the SERC and LEPC. In Pennsylvania this one-time notification must be made within 5 business days after the facility first receives a shipment or produces the substance on site that causes the facility to meet or exceed the threshold planning quantity for that substance.