Local Emergency Planning Committee
A large variety of hazardous materials are used, manufactured, stored, or transported through the St. Louis County area. Generally, such materials are classified as explosives and blasting agents, flammable liquids and solids, oxidizers, poisons, etiological agents, radioactive materials, corrosive materials and other materials including hazardous wastes.
Despite extensive safety precautions exercised by the manufacturers, users, and transporters of these materials, accidents involving their release sometimes occur. Any release of hazardous material can pose a threat to life, property and the surrounding environment. The population likely to be seriously affected would be within the most densely populated five mile belt on either side of a major transportation route (e.g., highway, rail lines, pipelines, port, or river) along which hazardous materials move, or within a five mile radius of fixed sites and facilities, to include all hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal sites (whether legal or illegal).
On October 17, 1986, President Reagan signed the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA) [U.S. Code] into law. One part of the SARA provisions is Title III: the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986. Title III requires the governor of each state to designate a State Emergency Response Commission (SERC). To fulfill this requirement, Division 10, Chapter 11 of the Rules of Public Safety title 11CSR 10-11.210 established a statewide hazardous material safety program, created the Missouri Emergency Response Commission and provided for the creation of Hazardous Material Emergency Response Accounts in each county. Title 11CSR 10-11.210 further defines the powers and duties of the State Emergency Management Agency, the Missouri Emergency Response Commission, counties and local governments concerning the imposition of obligations and appropriate penalties for inappropriate actions by certain handlers of hazardous materials. The Missouri Hazardous Material Emergency Planning and Response Act formalized county compliance with the Federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986, which sought to improve offsite safety around chemical facilities.
Title 11CSR 10-11.210 designates MERC as the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), which is required by the Superfund Amendment and Reauthorization Act (SARA) Title III. It also creates a supplemental emergency preparedness funding base for chemical emergency preparedness at the county and state levels based upon fees collected from the chemical industry. The fees enable the Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) to prepare offsite response plans, acquire response team equipment, develop public “Right-to-Know” education programs, conduct chemical industry awareness and compliance programs, and conduct relevant training, drills and exercises.
Title 11CSR 10-11.210 fulfills critical needs in the emergency management community by defining obligations, liabilities, penalties, and hazardous materials response team standards. The “Spill Bill” 260.500-260.550 benefits local fire companies and other response agencies by requiring reimbursement of expenses incurred related to hazardous material spill response.