In 1986 Congress passed the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act as Title III of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA). Congress enacted this law to help local communities protect public health and safety and the environment from chemical hazards. To implement Title III, Congress required each state to appoint a State Emergency Response Commission (SERC). The SERCs, in turn, were required to divide their states into emergency planning districtsand name a Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) for each district. The expertise of the required LEPC members ensures that all the necessary elements of the planning process are represented. The LEPC is the focal point for Title III activities in the community. The performance of the LEPC is critical to ensuring that the public benifits from the opportunities and information provided for under the law. The responsibilities of the LEPC are stated in the law: each LEPC must develop an emergency plan, collect and store information provided by facilities, and make that information available to the public. Other LEPC activities can be anticipated and are important to carrying out the spirit of the law. For example, LEPCs will provide a continuing forum in which the local community and facilities can discuss issues related to hazardous substances.