In 1984, a cloud of methyl isocyanate gas, an extremely toxic chemical, escaped from a Union Carbide chemical plant in Bhopal, India. More than 2,500 people lost their lives. Tens of thousands more were injured, some suffering permanent disabilities.
As a result, in 1986, Congress passed the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA), also known as SARA Title III. This law was enacted to help increase the public's knowledge and access to information on the presence of hazardous substances in their community.
The Act required each state to appoint a State Emergency Response Commission (Michigan's SERC is the Michigan Citizen Community Emergency Response Coordinating Council). Each SERC, in turn, divided its state into local emergency planning districts and appointed a Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) for each district. Oakland County is one of the 97 emergency planning districts in Michigan.