Some Local Emergency Planning Committee's Speak Out - KXXV Central Texas News Now

Some Local Emergency Planning Committee's Speak Out

In the wake of the West Fertilizer Plant explosion and the confusion over whether McLennan County has a Local Emergency Planning Committee or not more questions have been raised than answered and it's prompted News Channel 25 reached out to nearly all the counties in our viewing area. So far only received two call backs.

It's federal law that every county is to have a Local Emergency Planning Committee. The committee is made up of first responders, firefighters, industry representatives and community leaders. They're supposed to identify all the potential hazards in the county and develop a plan incase of emergency. In some smaller counties the responsibility falls on one person.  

Limestone County Emergency Management Coordinator Matt Groveton Says it's a hard job because many L.E.P.C's mainly rely on Two Tier Reports that companies are required to file with TCEQ.

In them, the company has their own safety plan that the county then just follows.

"These reports that we get are for the last calendar year, they're not real time. So some of the companies that have these chemicals you depend on them to self regulate, you depend on them. They're supposed to have their own safety plans."

Burleson County's Emergency Management Coordinator admits it's a one-person committee there. He says they've tried in the past but no one felt it as a big enough concern.

"In Burleson County the emergency planning committee is essentially a committee of one. It has been constituted and reconstituted on several different occasions and it's just never taken root. There are very few entities that would meet the criteria for industry."

Groveton says he's waiting on the investigation report from the west explosion. He says they'll use the results to help them plan for a similar situation at their next L.E.P.C. meeting.

Bagley says he and the Burleson County Commissioners will be double checking their Reports.

"We would be going back through and taking more scrutiny over the tier twos that we got in to make sure that they match up to what is being held. We just haven't had anyone come in and say this is a big enough issue," says Bagley.

"Sure more could be done but everyone has budgets. We could always do more but your limited by your resources that you have to work with," says Groveton.


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