EPA has published guidance on reporting options under sections 311 and 312 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to- Know Act (EPCRA). 75 Fed. Reg. 39852 (7/13/10). Addressed to state and local agencies that administer EPCRA sections 311 and 312, the guidance will affect organizations and facilities subject to EPCRA and its implementing regulations at 40 C.F.R. parts 355 and 370. EPCRA sections 311 and 312 require facilities to submit information about on-site hazardous chemicals that exceed threshold quantities to the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) and the local fire department.
The guidance discusses public comments on a June 1998 proposed rule that included options to streamline reporting requirements and reduce the burdens on SERC, LEPC and fire departments. Based on this feedback, EPA has provided the following interpretations: (i) states may implement a program allowing joint access to information in EPCRA reports by adopting a single-point submission to one agency and then distribution to the other two agencies; (ii) states may require electronic reporting with options to submit in hard copy for the facilities without electronic filing capability; (iii) states may allow the incorporation of previous submissions into section 312 reporting; (iv) states may implement a requirement that facilities comply with section 312 three months after acquiring a new chemical; (v) facilities may have up to 30 days to submit a written follow-up report after an emergency release notification unless states adopt more stringent requirements; and (vi) under section 311(e)(2), facilities would need only to count the amount of fume or dust given off a piece of metal, brick or any other manufactured solid item that undergoes a modification process (i.e., cutting, welding, etc.), unless the state adopts more stringent requirements.