Frequent Questions

Liability of individuals as members of SERCs and LEPCs

Can individuals, as members of a state emergency response commission or a local emergency planning committee, be sued and/or be held liable for their commission's or committee's failure to fulfill its EPCRA requirements?

Under Section 326, an individual may assert a federal cause of action against a state emergency response commission in federal court for the commission's failure to fulfill certain obligations under the Act.  Section 326 authorizes only injunctive relief against a state commission, i.e., if successful, the citizen may compel the state commission to fulfill the Title III obligations listed under Section 326, but may not receive money damages for the state's failure to do so.  The Act does not create a federal cause of action for citizens who wish to sue individuals as members of these state commissions or local committee.  Thus, whether an individual can be liable as a member of a state commission is a question of the law of each particular state.  In most states, this issue has been addressed by legislation or a ruling of the Attorney General.

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