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MEMA Home > Programs> Communication> News > SERC Tackles Funding and Compliance Issues

SERC Tackles Funding and Compliance Issues

 

September 19, 2006

 

The State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) today addressed increasing funding for emergency planning, and stepping up education and compliance efforts to encourage companies to report chemicals used or stored at their facilities. Non-reporting facilities pose a safety risk for local first responders and residents who are not made aware of hazardous materials present in their community.

SERC Chairman Charles Jacobs announced that approximately $45,000.00 will be made available to Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPC’s) for the first half of 2007. This represents only 46% of the funding provided in the last six months of 2006; however does partially address a shortfall that had been feared to be even larger. The process for distributing these funds will be determined after consultation with County Emergency Management Directors, and further examination by the SERC.

SERC members heard from MEMA staff on a number of ways to increase education efforts for facilities who are not reporting their storage and use of chemicals as required by the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA). THe SERC authorized staff to proceed with a multi-faceted approach to improving education and compliance. Methods include:

  • Press releases to local newspapers on what EPCRA is and how it affects businesses and communities,
  • Targeted newspaper advertisements,
  • Direct letters to facilities, and
  • Supporting trade groups in their efforts to help their members comply with the EPCRA requirements.
SERC members were also briefed on proposed methods to publicly identify facilities that choose not to report after a succession of legal notifications of their responsibilities under federal and state law. The members agreed with these methods in concept, but expressed the hope that educational efforts will result in increased voluntary compliance, and foster positive working relationships among facilities, communities and the SERC.

 

 

Last update: 07/20/10