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An Environmentalist's Perspective on the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act

Brian R. Hanson, RCRA and CERCLA (1997)

EPCRA serves two important purposes — mandating planning for emergency situations and requiring companies to inform the public about the toxic materials stored on or released from their premises.4

EPCRA's citizen suit provisions authorize suits for violations of both of these functions: against facilities (including motor vehicles and rolling stock) that fail to submit a followup emergency notification of a hazardous substance spill, and against manufacturing facilities that fail to timely submit reports about their inventory and releases of hazardous chemicals, namely, material safety data sheets (“MSDSs”), Tier I or Tier II inventory reports, and chemical release information on EPA Form Rs. Suits are also authorized (1) against the EPA Administrator for failing to perform certain administrative responsibilities, (2) against the EPA Administrator, the Governor (for the state in which the alleged violation occurred), or State emergency response commission (“SERC”) for failing to provide a mechanism for public availability of EPCRA information, and (3) against the Governor (for the state in which the alleged violation occurred) and SERC for not responding to requests for Tier II [7A-3] information within 120 days. Other EPCRA requirements may not be enforced through the citizen suit mechanism.

Citizen enforcers must serve a sixty-day notice letter upon the all