3750.03 Designating emergency planning districts.

(A) The emergency response commission, by resolution, shall designate emergency planning districts to prepare and implement district chemical emergency response and preparedness plans under this chapter. The commission may designate existing political subdivisions or multijurisdictional planning organizations as districts and may revise its designation of districts as it considers necessary or appropriate. At the request of the local emergency planning committees of two or more adjoining districts, the commission may designate those districts to constitute a joint emergency planning district. The commission also may enter into agreements with adjoining states or adjoining political subdivisions of contiguous states to establish joint interstate emergency planning districts.

(B) The commission, by resolution, shall appoint the members of the local emergency planning committee of each emergency planning district. The committee shall consist of such number of members as the commission considers appropriate but shall include, without limitation, representatives from each of the following groups or organizations: elected state and local officials, law enforcement personnel, emergency management personnel, fire-fighting personnel, first aid personnel, health personnel, local environmental personnel, hospital personnel, transportation personnel, broadcast and print media personnel, community groups, and owners and operators of facilities subject to this chapter.

If a district consists only of territory within one county, the commission shall appoint the members of the committee of the district from a list of persons submitted to the commission by the board of county commissioners of that county. If the district or joint district contains territory that lies wholly or partly within two or more counties, the commission shall appoint the members of the committee from the lists of persons submitted to the commission by the board of county commissioners of each county having territory within the district or joint district. Members of the committee for a joint interstate district shall be appointed in the manner provided in the agreement establishing the district.

The terms of office of the members of a committee for a district other than a joint interstate district shall be for two years, with each term ending on the same day of the same month as did the term it succeeds. Each member shall hold office from the date of his appointment until the end of the term for which he was appointed. Members may be reappointed and vacancies shall be filled in the manner provided for original appointments. Any member appointed to fill a vacancy occurring prior to the expiration of the term for which his predecessor was appointed shall hold office for the remainder of that term. A member shall continue in office subsequent to the expiration date of his term until his successor takes office or until a period of sixty days has elapsed, whichever occurs first. The committee, by a two-thirds vote of all its members, may at any time remove a member for misfeasance, malfeasance, or nonfeasance or, at the request of the committee, the commission may remove a member of the committee for any of those reasons.

The members of the committee for a joint interstate district shall be appointed, shall serve for such terms, and are subject to removal from the committee in the manner provided in the agreement establishing the district.

Except for the purposes of Chapters 102., 2744., and 2921. of the Revised Code, serving as a member of a committee does not constitute holding a public office or position of employment under the laws of this state and does not constitute grounds for removal of public officers or employees from their offices or positions of employment.

(C) The commission, as it considers appropriate, may modify its designation of emergency planning districts, the composition of the groups and organizations represented on the committee, or the number of members representing any of those groups or organizations on the committee, provided that each of the organizations or groups enumerated in division (B) of this section is represented on the committee. Members of the public, by written petition, may request the commission to modify the representation of those groups or organizations on the committee. If the commission reduces or eliminates representation of a group or organization on a committee, it shall declare the position of the member representing that group or organization to be abolished, and the person whose position is so abolished shall cease to serve as a member of the committee on the effective date of the commission's declaration. Appointments of members to fill positions established as a result of modification of the composition of the committee shall be made in the same manner as original appointments under this section.

If the commission alters the boundaries of an existing emergency planning district, designates a joint district, or enters into an agreement to establish a joint interstate district, it shall, within thirty days after the effective date of the action, appoint a committee for each district created by or whose boundaries were altered by that action. Upon the appointment of a committee for each such district, the committee of each of the districts that existed prior to that action shall cease to exist.

(D) A local emergency planning committee shall:

(1) Appoint a chairman and vice-chairman and a secretary to keep a record of its proceedings;

(2) Adopt bylaws for the conduct of its business;

(3) Appoint an information coordinator who shall be responsible for maintaining the committee's files of information received under this chapter and rules adopted under it and for receiving and fulfilling requests from the public for that information;

(4) Appoint a community emergency coordinator who shall be responsible for coordinating the development and implementation of the chemical emergency response and preparedness plan of the district and for receiving verbal and follow-up written notices of releases of hazardous substances and extremely hazardous substances provided under section 3750.06 of the Revised Code;

(5) Except as otherwise authorized by division (E)(4) of this section, obtain any thing to be purchased, leased, leased with an option or agreement to purchase, or constructed, in accordance with the provisions of sections 307.86 to 307.92 of the Revised Code applicable to boards of county commissioners;

(6) Establish and carry out a program to monitor regulated facilities within the district and to conduct compliance and enforcement activities to ensure that the facilities have submitted the information required by sections 3750.05 , 3750.07 , and 3750.08 of the Revised Code. Not later than the first day of October of each year, each committee shall submit a summary report of the compliance and enforcement activities of the committee during the previous calendar year. The report also shall contain an estimate of the number of facilities within the emergency planning district that are required to comply with any of those sections and, based upon the submission of emergency and hazardous chemical inventory forms required to be submitted on or before the immediately preceding first day of March under section 3750.08 of the Revised Code, the number of facilities within the district that are in compliance with those sections.

(E) A local emergency planning committee may:

(1) Receive and accept from any public or private source for the purposes of this chapter gifts, grants, or contributions of money, services of personnel, and real or personal property or their use. A municipal corporation, county, or township may, for the purposes of this chapter, make contributions of money, services of personnel, and real or personal property or their use to or on behalf of the district in which it is located.

If, as a result of the redesignation of a district, designation of a joint district, or establishment of a joint interstate district by the commission, a municipal corporation, county, or township is withdrawn from a district that remains in existence, the committee of that remaining district shall ascertain the funds on hand, credits, and real and personal property of the district and shall make an equitable apportionment and distribution in money or in kind of that money and property between the political subdivision and the district from which it was withdrawn.

(2) Appoint and fix the compensation of employees necessary or appropriate to perform the functions of a committee under this chapter within the district. Employees of a district shall be considered county employees for the purposes of Chapter 124. of the Revised Code and other provisions of the Revised Code applicable to employees.

(3) Request, in writing, that the commission, pursuant to division (A) of section 3750.05 of the Revised Code, designate an additional facility within the district as being subject to the emergency planning and notification requirements of sections 3750.04 and 3750.05 of the Revised Code;

(4) Enter into an agreement with the board of health of a city or general health district, a political subdivision that is located wholly or partly within the district, a countywide emergency management agency established under section 5502.26 of the Revised Code having jurisdiction within all or a portion of the district, a regional authority for emergency management established under section 5502.27 of the Revised Code having jurisdiction within all or a portion of the district, or a political subdivision that has established a program for emergency management under section 5502.271 of the Revised Code having jurisdiction within all or a portion of the district, whereby the board of health, political subdivision, agency, or authority will exercise any power, perform any function, or render any service on behalf of the committee that the committee may exercise, perform, or render under this chapter. The agreement shall specify the powers, functions, and services of the committee that the board of health, political subdivision, agency, or authority is authorized to exercise, perform, or render and shall establish either in specific terms or by prescribing a method for determining them the amounts of any payments to be made by the committee to the board of health, political subdivision, agency, or authority for performance of the agreement.

Upon entering into an agreement under division (E)(4) of this section and within the limitations prescribed in it, the board of health, political subdivision, agency, or authority may exercise the same powers as the committee with respect to the performance of any function or rendering of any service under the agreement. An agreement authorized under this section does not diminish the authority of the committee to exercise any power or perform any function being exercised or performed on its behalf by the board of health, political subdivision, agency, or authority under the agreement.

(5) By resolution, adopt rules establishing requirements for reporting or providing the names and amounts of extremely hazardous substances or hazardous chemicals produced, used, or stored at facilities within its emergency planning district; for the reporting or providing of information regarding locations where those substances or chemicals are stored at those facilities; or for the reporting of releases of extremely hazardous substances, hazardous substances, or oil that are more stringent than the reporting and hazard communication requirements under this chapter and rules adopted under it by the commission. The rules may include, without limitation, reporting requirements regarding the names, amounts, or storage locations of chemicals described in division (G)(3) of section 3750.01 of the Revised Code. A committee shall not create or require the use of forms other than those approved by the commission. Before enforcing such a more stringent requirement, the committee shall obtain a variance from the commission under division (B) of section 3750.11 of the Revised Code. No person shall violate a rule adopted under division (E)(5) of this section.

(6) Enter into contracts with persons for the development or provision of the training programs, seminars, or other forms of educational programs that are required to be included in the plan of each district under division (A)(11) of section 3750.04 of the Revised Code;

(7) Do all things necessary, incidental, or appropriate to perform the duties and exercise the powers of a committee under this chapter, and rules adopted under it, and under the "Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act of 1986," 100 Stat. 1729, 42 U.S.C.A. 11001 , and regulations adopted under it.

(F) The local emergency planning committee of an emergency planning district lying wholly within the boundaries of a county shall be considered a county board and shall receive the services of the auditor and prosecuting attorney of the county in the same manner as other county boards. If a district or joint district contains territory within two or more counties, the committee shall designate the county auditor of one of the counties in the district as the fiscal officer of the district and shall designate the prosecuting attorney of one of the counties as legal advisor of the district. The prosecuting attorney shall provide such services to the district as are required or authorized to be provided to county boards under Chapter 309. of the Revised Code. The committee of a joint interstate district shall designate a fiscal officer and legal advisor under this division in the same manner as a joint district unless the agreement establishing the joint interstate district provides otherwise.

Moneys received by the committee of a district lying wholly within the boundaries of a county shall be credited to a special emergency planning fund in the treasury of the county. If a district or joint district contains territory within two or more counties, moneys received by the committee shall be credited to a special emergency planning fund in the treasury of the county whose county auditor has been designated by the committee as the fiscal officer of the district. The fund shall be administered by the committee of the district, and moneys credited to the fund shall be expended only for the purposes of carrying out the powers and duties of the committee under this chapter and rules adopted and orders issued under it. Moneys received by the committee of a joint interstate district shall be credited, administered, and expended in the same manner as in a joint district unless the agreement establishing the joint interstate district provides otherwise.

Effective Date: 10-29-1995