History of LEPC
In response to continuing community concern about hazardous materials and chemical release tragedies such as the incident in Bhopal, India, a reauthorization and expansion of Superfund was signed into law in October, 1986. It is known as the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA). Title III (The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act) of this regulation requires that each community establish a Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC). In Michigan, the County Planning Districts were used to form the LEPCs, headed by the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC). Kent County is an LEPC District.
SARA Title III required communities to develop off-site emergency response plans for facilities and farms that have any Extremely Hazardous Substance (EHS). It also gives the citizens the right to know about hazardous chemicals that are stored and released in our community.
The Kent County LEPC developed and now maintains 300+ of these off-site (plus 6 new sites which are in progress) of these off-site response plans and continued to look for new sites that may also need a plan developed. The Kent County LEPC carries out numerous community outreach activities such as developing informational brochures and videos, exercising (testing) a plan, and putting on an annual workshop to educate business, industry and others about SARA Title III. The Kent County LEPC has won six national awards for its outreach activities.
In 1998 the staffing for the Kent County LEPC moved from the Health Department to the Sheriff Department Office of Emergency Management. The LEPC consists of 21 volunteers that represent a wide variety of categories including elected officials, police, fire, EMS, emergency management, health professionals, environment, hospital, and transportation officials as well as representatives from facilities and farms subject to the emergency planning requirements, community groups, schools and the media. The committee meets on the last Tuesday of the month at 2:00 PM. See the Meeting Schedule for further details. Much of the LEPCs “work” is carried out in subcommittees that meet as needed throughout the year.
- 1992 National Association of Counties, Achievement Award
- May 1992, Award from EPA /US Coast Guard for Hazardous Materials Outreach
- October 1996, Award from the EPA/US Coast Guard for Outreach Activities to the Farming Community
- October 1998, Award from the EPA/US Coast Guard for training of 1st Responders
- Award from the EPA/US Coast Guard for developing videos that will be used as outreach and educational tools for LEPCs throughout the state of MI
- Award from the EPA/US Coast Guard for LEPC 15th Anniversary Celebration