A natural gas distribution facility consists of a series of pipelines and breakout storage tanks. The substances stored at the facility are exempt from all applicable provisions of EPCRA (except Section 304) under the transportation exemption at Section 327. Can such a facility be designated (under the authority of Section 302(b)(2)) as a facility subject to the emergency planning requirements of Title III?
Section 302(b)(2) of Title III gives the Governor or the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) the authority to designate additional facilities as subject to the emergency planning provisions in Sections 301-304. Facilities may be designated under this authority even if all of the substances present at the facility qualify for the transportation exemption at Section 327 because they are under active shipping papers. In order to make such a designation, the Governor or SERC must first provide public notice and opportunity for comment on the proposed designation. The Governor or SERC must also notify the facility owner/operator of any facility designation under Section 302(b)(2). The effect of such a designation will be to subject the facility owner/operator to the notification requirement under Section 302(c), and to the emergency planning provisions of Sections 302-304. Such a designation would not render the chemicals at the facility, which are otherwise exempt from the reporting provisions of Title III, reportable.