What is your LEPC?
The Hidalgo County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) is made up of city and county officials, law enforcement, fire and emergency medical personnel, representatives of area industries, the media, and volunteer organizations.
In 1986, the U.S. Congress passed a law called the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA), requiring every county in the nation to form and maintain an LEPC. This group supports emergency planning for chemical hazards and provides local government and the public with information about possible chemical hazards.
In short, LEPC members are your co-workers, friends, and neighbors, who prepare for emergencies, which might pose health and safety hazards to Hidalgo County residents. Such emergencies include releases of hazardous chemicals from any of the plants within the county or from any of the thousands of trucks and railroad cars which carry them through the county each year. They also include natural disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes, as well as spills of everyday chemicals like gasoline or agricultural chemicals and pesticides.
Year round, members of the LEPC meet to discuss response plans and means of better informing the public – that’s YOU – about what to do when an emergency occurs. The participate in drills at industrial plants, they help find ways to improve safety and aid the various involved organizations – police, sheriff’s, fire and EMS departments, school districts and other governmental agencies, hospitals, civic and volunteer groups – work smoothly together in the event of an actual emergency.
1. To carry out within Hidalgo County those responsibilities required of the LEPC pursuant to
Public Law 99-499, Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA), Title
III, and related regulations including, but not limited to:
2. Development, review and testing of a natural disaster emergency response plan.
- Development, annual review, and testing of a hazardous substances emergency response plan within Hidalgo County.
- Development of procedures for regulated facilities to provide required reports and immediate notification of release of hazardous substances to the LEPC in accordance with SARA, Title III.
- Development of procedures for receiving and processing requests from the public under the community right to know provisions of SARA, Title III.
- Provision for public notification of committee activities, meetings, and emergency plans.
3. To implement such other and further related activities as may hereafter be legally required
by the Federal Government, the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), or the
Public Notification and General Participation
- EXECUTIVE COUNCIL: The Council shall consist of no less than three, nor more than nine members as determined by simple majority vote of the Board of Directors.
- BOARD OF DIRECTORS: The Board shall consist of those members submitted by the County Judge and approved by the SERC for membership in this body, and be known as Directors. Those persons shall, at a minimum, represent the various professional and community groups as designated by SARA, Title III.
- OFFICERS: Officers shall be elected to conduct meetings, appoint committees, keep minutes of meetings, and to otherwise accomplish the work of the committee. Those officers include a Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Emergency Management Coordinator, and a Public Information Officer. The term of office will last for one year (January meeting to January meeting) or until a successor is elected.
- SPECIFICS: The specific duties and powers of each office are stated in the bylaws, and may be viewed by request to the Public Information Officer.
- CURRENT MEMBERSHIP: The current membership list may be viewed HERE.
- REGULAR MEETINGS: Regular meetings of the LEPC will be held without notice at 9:30 AM on the last Wednesday of January, April, July, and October.
- SPECIAL MEETINGS: Special meetings may be called on seventy two (72) hours notice with posting at the County Courthouse Public Notice Board, or the County Annex Public Notice Board. Officers and Directors may be notified by other means, also.
- EMERGENCY MEETINGS: Emergency meetings may be called on three (3) hours notice, with each Officer and Director being notified personally, by telephone, or telecopy.
- PLACE OF MEETINGS: Unless otherwise noted on the posting, the meeting place will be at the Emergency Operations Center, Hidalgo County Health Department, 1304 S. 25th Street, Edinburg, Texas.
- PUBLIC PARTICIPATION: All meetings of the LEPC or any subcommittee thereof shall be open to the public in accordance with the Texas Open Meetings Act, Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. Ann. art 6252-17, except under circumstances where the Act permits.