Lewis/Upshur County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC)
The Lewis/Upshur Local Emergency Planning Committee is established to implement the provisions of Title III of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986: The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 P.L99-499, with state implementation as enacted by the West Virginia Code. To provide an efficient means of operation, the Lewis/Upshur County Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) has established this document of By-laws by which to operate.
I. Changes to the By-laws and Procedures
These By-laws may only be changed by a two-thirds majority vote of the LEPC membership present at a regularly scheduled LEPC meeting following a minimum of one month review of the proposed change(s) by the members at a previous meeting. The procedures may be changed by a majority vote of the LEPC members present at a regularly scheduled meeting.
Membership on the LEPC shall be by application to the Committee with subsequent approval by the SERC as established in Chapter 15, Article 5A-7 of the West Virginia Code.
A. Composition of the Committee
Management and control of the Committee is lodged in its membership. The desired Member and Representative categories are shown below and indicate one voting Member from each category per county.
1. Elected Local Officials
2. Law Enforcement
3. Fire Fighting
4. Emergency Medical Services (EMS)
6. Office of Emergency Services (OES)
7. RACES (amateur radio)
8. Citizen Corp Council
9. Regional Response Team
10. Public Health Directors
11. Behavioral Health
a. Board of Education Transportation
b. WV Department of Highways
c. Other as exists
14. Broadcast and print media
15. Owners/Operators of "Covered Facilities
16. Interested Community Groups
B. Individuals may apply as a Representative on forms specified and must be approved by the Membership.
C. Each voting Member is selected from the non-voting representatives in each category per County by vote of the LEPC membership.
D. It is not the intent of these By-laws to limit the number of representatives for each designated category.
E. The membership shall be empowered to alter and change the composition of this membership from time to time as appropriate to meet changing Federal, State or local requirements or regulations, provided that the changed composition of membership complies with all pertinent legal requirements.
A quorum of Members the LEPC shall annually elect its officers at a previously announced meeting for a one year term from January 1 to December 31. Nothing in these By-laws shall preclude one person from holding more than one office except the Chairperson and Co-Chairperson, who, by the nature of the positions, must be two separate individuals. There are no limits imposed on the number of terms for each office, however, the committee shall encourage participation of as many Members as possible to fulfill the functions of the officers. Any vacancy in the officers created by the resignation or removal of the officer shall be by the appointment of a replacement by the Executive subcommittee from the membership to fill the unexpired term.
The Chairperson shall preside over all general membership and Executive subcommittee meetings of the LEPC and shall ensure that all LEPC projects, tasks and associated paperwork requirements for the functioning of the committee are fulfilled. These duties include: setting meeting times, preparation of the agendas, appointing standing or special subcommittees, chairing meetings, and other duties as directed by the Committee.
The role of the Co-Chairperson is to assist the Chairperson and assume his/her responsibilities during the Chairperson's absence. In the event the Chairperson is unable to fulfill his/her term, the Co-Chairperson will assume the full responsibility of the Chairperson until such time as a new Chairperson is elected.
The responsibilities shall include recording of the minutes of LEPC meetings, sending out meeting notifications or making personal telephone reminder calls, preparing meeting agendas and public notification of meetings, and any other duties assigned by the Chairperson.
1. The Treasurer shall have custody of all funds of the LEPC.
2. He/she shall pay out of the funds on hand all debts incurred by the Committee upon direction of the Chairperson with the approval of the Committee.
3. The Treasurer shall maintain an accurate accounting of all monies received and paid on accounts of the Committee and prepare a monthly statement of receipts and expenditures for the review of the membership.
4. The Treasurer and one other officer shall sign all checks issued on the accounts of the Committee.
D. LEPC Coordinator
1. A LEPC Coordinator shall be appointed by the Committee to coordinate the activities of the Committee under the By-laws, procedures and directives of the Committee for each county in the Local Emergency Planning District.
2. The Coordinators shall process public information requests in a timely manner and shall maintain a record of all requests and have access to those records during normal working hours.
3. The Coordinators shall also follow the procedures and guidelines contained in "Procedures and Guidelines for Receiving and Processing Information Requests under SARA Title III."
4. The Coordinators shall act as liaison between the Committee and the County Commissions and the State Emergency Response Commission.
5. The Coordinators shall work with the Director of the Emergency Services in each county to provide assistance in planning emergency drills and exercises which practice and test the effectiveness of County hazardous
materials response plans of a disaster magnitude.
Subcommittees shall be composed of Members and/or Representatives from the LEPC. The Chairperson of the committee shall appoint the necessary subcommittee chairpersons from the committee to fulfill the duties of the subcommittees. In addition to the duties outlined below, each subcommittee shall provide related services as necessary and possible as directed by the Chairperson. The subcommittee and their duties shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
A. Membership Subcommittee:
1. Develop and maintain an application form to be used in the recommendation, appointment and approval of Representatives.
2. Develop and maintain survey form to be completed annually by the Members/Representatives.
3. Update annually and maintain a roster of Members and Representatives that includes name, address, phone number, email and category.
4. Present new Representative applications to the committee for approval.
5. Seek new members from eligible organizations to fulfill Member vacancies.
B. Hazard Assessment and Planning:
1. Review information provided by covered facilities and others as to type location and amount of hazardous materials in the community.
2. Assess hazards presented to the communities by the presence of hazardous materials.
3. Assist emergency services agencies in acquiring information necessary for the development and maintenance of the agencies’ hazardous materials incident response plan.
4. Advise the Committee of the status of all agencies hazardous materials response plans.
5. Review and update the Committee's Hazardous Materials Response plan to include new and pertinent information regarding protection of the public in the event of a hazardous materials incident.
6. Assist the Executive Subcommittee in holding an annual public review of the plan.
C. By Laws:
Review the Committee By-Laws as necessary, or requested, by the Committee, and propose for approval, any changes deemed necessary to support the Committee function in accordance with the Committee's functional guidelines.
D. Public Education:
1. Prepare and arrange for appropriate release of pertinent LEPC information to the Public or Media, coordinated through the Chairperson, or, Co-Chairperson.
2. Arrange, and or, coordinate presentations about the LEPC, by approved LEPC members, to local Service, Business or Community Organizations.
3. Arrange for Media notification of Major LEPC activities, coordinated through the Chairperson, or, Co-Chairperson.
E. Executive Subcommittee
The Executive Subcommittee shall be composed of the Chairperson, Co-Chairperson, Recorder/Secretary, Treasurer, Coordinators and the Subcommittee chairpersons. The duties of the Executive Subcommittee shall include but not be limited to:
4. Hold an annual public review of the Plan and Procedures.
5. Annually review the goals and objectives established by the Committee.
6. Adopt and recommend to the Committee revisions to Procedures, policies and directives as necessary for the administration and execution of the duties with which to Committee is charged.
A. LEPC Meetings
1. Meetings shall be held on the third Wednesday of each month at the location designated at the previous meeting.
2. The Recorder/Secretary shall issue a news release at least five business days preceding each meeting to the local media.
3. All Committee Members shall be contacted at least five days preceding the meeting and advised of the date, time and place should a special meeting be called or a change made in the regularly scheduled meeting.
B. Public Meetings
Notification shall be the same as for the LEPC meeting notification.
C. Minutes of Meetings
Official minutes of all LEPC meetings shall be:
1. Documented and made available to the public upon request.
2. Sent to each respective County Commission.
3. Sent together with a copy of the membership roster, as requested, to any WV State office responsible for LEPC funding and/or activities.
A quorum of Members necessary to conduct business at a LEPC meeting shall be seven, provided a minimum of one Member shall be from each county.
VI. Emergency Response Plan
The Committee is responsible to develop and implement a comprehensive emergency response plan in accordance with 42 U.S.C. §11003, and review such plan once a year, or more frequently as changed circumstances in the community may require.
1. The Committee shall assist all agencies and covered facilities in the development of hazardous materials response emergency plans.
2. The Office of Emergency Services in each County shall acquire from each emergency response agency and covered facility in the appropriate jurisdiction a hazardous materials emergency response plan.
3. The combined plans from each agency and facility shall form the Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Plan for the respective county.
B. Plan Description
1. The Lewis/Upshur LEPC Hazardous Materials Response Plan shall consist of the hazardous materials response plan for each county.
2. The Lewis/Upshur LEPC Hazardous Materials Response Plan shall be submitted to the WVSERC for review and recommendation before implementation.
VII. Identification of Covered Facilities
1. The identification of covered facilities that must meet the Emergency Release Notification and Emergency Planning, Hazardous Chemical Reporting, and Toxic Chemical Release Inventory requirements of Title III is a monumental task.
2. The LEPC will periodically compile a Tier II assessment of Lewis and Upshur Counties to determine if additional facilities should be reporting.
3. The method of determining facilities to include in the assessment include the following.
a. Chambers of Commerce in both counties
b. Economic Development Authorities in both counties
c. State tax records through the county assessor’s offices
d. Standard Industrial Code (SIC) book
4. Once the LEPC identifies a potentially covered facility, the LEPC shall formally contact the facility to request information regarding their status as a covered facility.
5. The LEPC can expect to encounter many questions from facility owners and operators.
6. A covered facility may also need to be provided with information about the substances covered under Title III. The Federal Register contains lists of these substances, including “Lists of Hazardous Chemicals”, “Extremely Hazardous Substances”, and “Toxic Chemicals”. A facility will be provided with a copy of those lists upon request.
VIII. Public Comment and Response
A. Public Comment
1. LEPC meeting agendas shall contain an item allowing for comment from any members of the general public in attendance at that meeting. Those comments made at meetings shall be recorded in the minutes of the meeting at which they were made.
2. The LEPC may receive or be made aware of other comments through letters, news editorials, telephone calls, and electronic media. The LEPC shall keep a file of comments received in writing.
3. The LEPC shall request that all questions and comments be submitted in writing. This will provide for adequate documentation and will allow the LEPC to respond accordingly.
B. Response to Comments
1. It is important that the LEPC respond officially and timely to formal public comments.
2. Responses shall be in writing, signed by the Chairperson.
3. It should be noted that instantaneous responses to sensitive questions or comments are not mandatory. A well-prepared response to sensitive issues, delivered in a reasonable time, is acceptable and preferred.
C. Requests for Information
1. The general policy of the Lewis/Upshur Local Emergency Planning Committee is that the committee make the fullest possible disclosure or records to the public consistent with the provisions of Title III.
2. Information that Is Available
a. List of covered facilities reporting to the LEPC
b. MSDS or list of MSDS chemicals filed by covered facilities
c. Emergency and hazardous chemicals inventory form filed by covered facilities
d. Follow-up emergency notices filed by covered facilities
e. Minutes of LEPC meetings
3. Filing a Request for Information
a. A request for information must be filed with the LEPC in writing to 181 Pallottine Drive,
Buckhannon, WV 26201.
b. The request must describe the records sought in a way that will enable their identification and
location, but otherwise need not be in any particular form. If the description of the records sought
in the request is not sufficient to allow the LEPC to identify and find the requested records, the
LEPC will notify the requestor, in writing, that the request cannot be processed until more
information is given.
c. Every reasonable effort will be made to help in the identification of records sought and to help
the requestor in formulating his/her request. If a request is described in general terms (e.g., all
records concerning a certain facility), then the LEPC may talk with the requestor in an effort to
reduce the administrative burden of processing a broad request and minimize the fees payable
by the operator. Such attempts should not be used as a means to discourage, but as a means to
help identify the specific records sought.
d. Requests received at offices other than those described above may not be answered timely.
e. Oral or phone requests for records will be addressed by asking the requestor to make the
request in writing.
4. Responding to a Request for Information
a. The LEPC will mark the request with a date of receipt and begin to identify and find the
requested information or ask for more information concerning the request.
b. Such responses must do one of the following.
i. Furnish copies of the requested information
ii. Advise the requestor of the time and place at which he/she may inspect and copy the
iii. Deny the request
b. Denials of requests may be only in the following circumstances.
i. The requested record is not known to exist
ii. The record in the LEPC’s possession and the LEPC is not required under Title III to obtain this record from the owner or operator of a covered facility
iii. The record is exempt from disclosure under Title III
c. A letter informing the requestor of the denial must be sent within seven (7) business days. The letter shall clearly state the basis for denial.
5. Information that May Be Withheld
a. Trade secrets
b. Location of the specific chemical
c. Personal contact information of individuals
d. Personal information of facility personnel
6. Costs Involved
a. Fees will be charged requestors for searching for and reproducing requested records. Fees charged shall be sufficient to defray the costs as associated with finding and reproducing the requested information.
b. Fees to be charged are as follows.
i. Copying costs shall be $1.50 for the first two pages and $1.00 for each additional page.
ii. The charge for copying materials that must be reproduced by outside facilities shall be the
actual cost of copying (with record of cost to be provided upon request).
iii. A search fee of $12.00 per hour or fraction of an hour shall be charged for the time spent
in trying to find requested records beyond an initial one (1) hour.
iv. An invoice for the total amount of fees will be mailed to the requestor at the address provided
on the original request for information. Payments shall be made by check and made payable to
the Lewis-Upshur LEPC.
v. Any requestor who cannot afford to pay the fees established by the LEPC under this section
may file an affidavit with the committee stating that the requestor is unable to pay such fees.
Upon the filing of such affidavit, the LEPC may process the request by following these bylaws as
if the fees were paid.