The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) was passed in 1996 in response to concerns regarding the environmental and safety hazards posed by the storage and handling of toxic chemicals, triggered by the disaster in Bhopal, India, in which more than 2,000 people died or suffered serious injury from the accidental release of methyl isocyanate. To reduce the likelihood of such a disaster in the United States, Congress imposed requirements on both states and regulated facilities.
EPCRA establishes requirements for federal, state and local governments, tribes, and industry regarding emergency planning and “Community Right-to-Know” reporting on hazardous and toxic chemicals. The Community Right-to-Know provisions help increase public awareness and access to information about chemicals at individual facilities, their uses and releases into the environment. States and communities, working with facilities, can use the information to improve chemical safety and protect public health and the environment.
The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) of 1986 was created to help communities plan for chemical emergencies. It also requires industry to report on the storage, use and releases of hazardous substances to federal, state, and local governments. EPCRA requires state and local governments, and Indian tribes to use this information to prepare their community from potential risks.
EPCRA has four major provisions:
Emergency planning (Section 301-303)
Emergency release notification (Section 304)
Hazardous chemical storage reporting requirements (Sections 311-312)