State program helps fund local emergency management efforts
Posted on 1/5/2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Cecily Fong
January 5, 2009
Bismarck, ND - The Hazardous Chemicals Preparedness and Response Program, administered by the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services (NDDES) collected more than $126,000 in chemical storage fees during reporting year 2007. These fees are divided equally between NDDES to cover program expenses and Local Emergency Planning Commissions (LEPCs) located in each county. The LEPCs may use the money to enhance emergency management capabilities in areas such as training, exercising, equipment, response and salaries.
"This program has experienced steady growth over the past few years," said Greg Wilz, ND Homeland Security Director. "Its expansion is mostly due to changes in agriculture, manufacturing, and the energy industries."
On a yearly basis, facility owners and operators are required to report the inventory of hazardous and toxic chemicals stored across North Dakota. Typical facilities reporting are bulk fuel plants, anhydrous ammonia plants, propane plants, agricultural processing plants and energy and oil producing sites.
"An increase in hazardous materials increases risk to the communities in which the materials are stored," said Wilz. "This program is a great example of state and local officials working in partnership to keep our citizens safe."
Staff conducted approximately 60 site visits at Tier II and Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) facilities throughout the state. In 2008, visits took place at Minot AFB, the cities of Minot, Williston, Valley City, Fargo, Grand Forks, and Grand Forks County. The visits allow DES personnel the opportunity to provide information to facility operators, to check for proper storage procedures and to examine emergency response plans.