COMMUNITY AWARENESS NETWORK

CAN is growing! Groups from South Carolina, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and now Wisconsin are combining resources, strategies, and data. More are invited to join!

After the Tri-State Crematory incident revealed the lack of any regulations requiring crematories to be licensed and inspected, one might expect GA to now have some of the strictest laws on the books. Conversely, it is business as usual ‘round here:  lax regulations, lax enforcement. Begs the question: Who is watching the only entities legally authorized to incinerate human bodies?  

 Residents formed Community Awareness Network (CAN) to protest a crematory addition to Bill Head’s Funeral Home at 6101 Lawrenceville Hwy. After learning of the Special Use Permit applied for by Mr. Head, hundreds attended the Planning Commission meeting on September 7th, only to leave disappointed when the vote was tabled to Nov 3rd. Rather than sweeping the matter under the rug, the importance of this issue forgotten, delaying the vote only strengthened the opposition’s resolve.

 Facts surfaced regarding unlawful practice of an unlicensed crematory in Lilburn – the same crematory that Bill Head’s letter of intent states he intends to relocate to his Tucker Funeral Home. Open records requests resulted in a letter from the Secretary of State: they do not have licensee at the address 5005 Hwy 29 in Lilburn.  Given that Georgia Law regulating crematories requires the license be issued to a specific address, at which there must be a crematory unit, records indicate the license Bill Head does have is not valid for either location.

Our message to the Planning Commission, Gwinnett Board of Commissioners, Funeral Board, Lilburn city officials, candidates running for election, and the public about this issue: It is unconscionable that the city of Lilburn has allowed this unlicensed crematory to operate for fifteen years, the last seven of which there have been laws to prohibit such activities. It is incomprehensible to us that the BOC might actually approve that same business owner’s request for a crematory in our residential area. Despite his lawyer’s assertion that the property is surrounded by dense woods – underneath those trees are our homes.

 Our children cannot wait on industry to realize harm done and take steps toward remediation. Parents of children who attend Lilburn Middle School and Lilburn Elementary School need to be aware of ongoing releases of mercury and other toxins in close proximity to those schools.

 Nationally, other communities are working with us to share data, resources and contacts. To date, SC, PA, and MN have locked arms with CAN in GA to effect change on a federal level, seeking legislation to force the EPA to regulate crematory emissions. Other groups are invited to join. www.nocrematory.com  – simply register and leave your comment below, a representative from CAN will be in touch with you.

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