Emergency Planning and Right to Know Programs

The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) is designed to improve community access to information about chemical hazards and to facilitate the development of chemical emergency response plans by tribal governments. EPCRA establishes reporting obligations for facilities that store or manage specified chemicals.

EPCRA Implementation in Indian Country

EPA directly implements EPCRA in Indian country, but tribes are eligible for certain program delegations. Tribes can establish tribal emergency response commissions (TERCs), which are responsible for coordinating certain emergency response activities, and can appoint tribal emergency planning committees (TEPCs).

Major EPCRA provisions of interest to tribes include:

Extremely Hazardous Substances

Requires facility notification of the presence of any extremely hazardous substance in excess of the substance’s threshold planning quantity and directs the facility to appoint an emergency response coordinator.

Notification of a Release or Exceedence

Requires facility notification in the event of a release equaling or exceeding the reportable quantity of a hazardous substance as defined by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) or an EPCRA extremely hazardous substance.

Material Safety Data Sheets

Requires a facility at which a hazardous chemical is present in in certain amounts to maintain material safety data sheets (MSDSs) or lists of MSDSs and hazardous chemical inventory forms.

Toxic Release Inventory (TRI)

Requires manufacturing facilities that manufacture, process or use specified chemicals in amounts greater than threshold quantities to submit an annual toxic chemical release report. Tribes may elect to have these reports submitted directly to the tribe.

TRI for Communities
The TRI is a starting point for communities to learn about toxic chemicals that industrial facilities are using and releasing into the environment, and whether those facilities are doing anything to prevent pollution.

TRI Data and Tools
The TRI Program tracks the management of toxic chemicals that may pose a threat to human health and the environment. Facilities in certain industry sectors report annually the volume of toxic chemicals managed as waste -- recycled, treated or burned for energy recovery -- as well as disposed of or otherwise released into the environment.

TRI Facilities That May Be Located in Indian Country
List of TRI facilities located in Indian Country that may begin submitting their TRI reports directly to tribes beginning with the reports due July 1, 2013.

TRI for Tribes
Introduction to TRI and links to various tribal-related information. This is part of a larger effort to inform tribes of the availability of TRI data and other resources that may help assess tribal environmental and health concerns.

TRI Reporting in Indian Country
Facilities meeting TRI reporting requirements and located in Indian country are required to submit TRI reports to EPA and the appropriate tribe, rather than to the state in which the facility is located. The final rule also clarifies that a tribal chairperson or equivalent elected official has equivalent opportunities to a state governor to petition EPA to request that:

  1. Individual facilities located within their Indian country be added to TRI
  2. A particular chemical(s) be added to or deleted from the TRI chemical list.

EPA determines whether to add a facility or add/delete a chemical to the TRI Program.