In 1986, Congress passed the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) which established a national baseline with regard to planning, response, management, and training for hazardous materials emergencies. SARA mandated the establishment of both State and local planning groups to develop and review hazardous materials response plans.
The Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) is responsible for developing an emergency plan for and responding to chemical emergencies within the community. It is the main function of the LEPC to look after community interests in regard to hazardous incidents that may occur there. The LEPC is the coordinating point for both planning and training activities at the local level.
The LEPC also receives emergency release and chemical inventory information submitted by local industrial facilities and makes this information available to the community it serves.
In addition to its formal responsibilities, the LEPC often serves as a focal point for information and discussions about hazardous substances. The LEPC's ability to improve and maintain the safety and health of its community is greatly enhanced by the support of an informed community.
In Seward County the LEPC meets on the third Tuesday of every month at 9:30 am at the Seward County Community College in Liberal. Minutes from the meetings are available here. In 2003, the Seward County LEPC received an award for best LEPC in a small community.