Local Emergency Planning Committee
Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation/Continuous Release Reporting; Jurisdiction
The Maricopa County Local Emergency Planning Committee (“MC-LEPC”) is in receipt of notice from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), dated 25 October 2017 (linked below), that chemical releases resulting from animal waste on farms and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO’s) are interpreted as substances used in “routine agricultural use.” These substances are exempted by congress from emergency planning and community right- to- know act (EPCRA), section 304, reporting requirements. The notice states that the “EPA does not believe Congress intended the generation, handling or storage of animal waste to subject farms to reporting if they do not otherwise produce, use or store hazardous chemicals.” The reporting requirements for farms and CAFO’s under the comprehensive environmental response, compensation, and liability act (CERCLA) will remain in effect and are to be submitted to the National Response Center (NRC) and the EPA Region Office.
In the absence of an EPCRA, section 304, reporting requirement, the MC- LEPC does not have jurisdiction to require or review release reports related to animal waste or any other substance used in routine agricultural operations. Any questions regarding this interpretation should be directed to the EPA Region 9 office (see contacts link below).
The Maricopa County Local Emergency Planning Committee (“MC-LEPC”) is a committee composed of community volunteers from elected positions, the emergency services field, media agencies, community groups, and industry; appointed by the Arizona State Emergency Response Commission (“AzSERC”), which also maintains oversight authority over the committee. The MC-LEPC is tasked as a community body to oversee local compliance with the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (“EPCRA”), 42 U.S.C. § 11001 – 11050. EPCRA requires all facilities that have hazardous substances at or in excess of certain amounts to provide the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (“ADEQ”) with the identity of the facility representative who must provide that facility’s emergency plan and who will also participate in the emergency planning process. Among the duties of these facilities is the duty to submit a list and inventory of its hazardous substances that are present at or above certain threshold quantities and prepare and file with ADEQ and the MC-LEPC an emergency response plan as required in statute.
EPCRA requires the MC-LEPC to prepare and review an emergency response plan to address emergencies due to releases of hazardous substances from facilities or transportation vehicles within Maricopa County. Additionally, the MC-LEPC will either make available to the public, upon request, the relevant material safety data sheets of those chemicals or direct the request to the facility.
EPCRA does not require those who do not produce, use, or store hazardous chemicals to report releases of hazardous substances. Additionally, under EPCRA, the MC-LEPC is not a response, investigative, or enforcement body. Any reports of violations of EPCRA are forwarded to the ADEQ for investigation and disposition. Any life-threatening release of hazardous chemicals should be reported immediately to emergency responders by calling 911. All other reports of non-life threatening hazardous chemical releases or EPCRA violations by the general public should be directed to the ADEQ.
Questions and concerns from the public are welcome, and the committee will respond to matters that are within the scope of its authority. The MC-LEPC believes that the community will benefit when there is a transparent and mutually respectful relationship with its community partners. Communication between citizens, business, and government enhances the protection of the community and the environment.
Public Recommendations for Committee Action
All public recommendations for Committee action shall be presented in writing at a regularly scheduled Committee meeting.
The Public Access and Availability of EPCRA Information
Under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), any person may obtain chemical information with respect to a specific facility by submitting a written request to the Commission or the Committee:
Arizona State Emergency Response Commission
Department of Environmental Quality
1110 W Washington Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85007