The Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) was signed into federal law in 1986. Title III of SARA is also known as the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) or the Community Right-to-Know regulation. In 1993, the State of Hawai‘i enacted HEPCRA (HRS 128E) which is modeled after federal EPCRA. Hawai‘i Administrative Rules (HAR 11-453) for implementing HEPCRA regulations became effective in November 2010.
To implement HEPCRA requirements, the regulations provide for the formation of:
- The Hawai‘i State Emergency Response Commission (HSERC) which is established under §128E-2 and is responsible for the implementation of HEPCRA requirements for the State. The HSERC is housed within the HEER Office for administrative purposes.
- Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) which are established under §128E-5. LEPCs are made up of emergency management agencies, responders, industry and the public. They work to understand chemical hazards in the community, develop emergency plans in case of an accidental release, and look for ways to prevent chemical accidents. There are currently four LEPCs in Hawai‘i, one to represent each County.
The HEER Office receives HEPCRA reports and manages HEPCRA data on behalf of the HSERC. The HEER Office also provides technical and regulatory assistance to businesses, local emergency planning committees and the public.
HEPCRA provisions help increase the public’s knowledge and access to information on 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.
Under this regulation, facilities (both large and small) are required to plan for possible emergencies and report chemical information to the HSERC, LEPCs and the local fire department.