Nov 6, 2013 1:14 AM by Jim Hummel
Back in April, an explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas shocked the nation, but it also served as wake up call for some in Acadiana.
"Afterwards, we'll watch events like that for things we can learn and do better," said Prescott Marshall, the director of Emergency Management in Iberia Parish. "One of the things I learned was that our local emergency planning committee was not satisfying all of the EPA's requirements."
The EPA requires facilities to report hazardous materials to their local and state governments. The law also requires local governments to have Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPC), hold formal meetings, develop an emergency response plan, and review it at least annually.
Although Iberia Parish does have an emergency management committee, the parish has not held any formal LEPC meetings in at least four years.
"We are effectively accomplishing all the public safety tasks we would be doing, we simply need to provide that local oversight that the EPA requires, but the database of hazardous materials is available to first responders," said Marshall.
Marshall says formal LEPC meetings, to satisfy the EPA requirement, will resume in 2014.