How’s this for a catch 22 …
EPA does not regulate emissions from crematoriums despite the prescribed guidelines set forth in the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act which require doing everything possible to reduce the toxic load of mercury in our air and water. They had included crematoriums in the list of solid waste incinerators that they planned to regulate. Special interests again trumped human rights. The funeral industry sent lobbyists to Washington DC to convince the Environmental Protection Agency “you can’t call a human body solid waste” and so crematories slipped into that regulation black hole loophole where they currently exist. And even here in Georgia, site of the worst crematory scandal in united states history – it seems nobody’s watching the only entities legally authorized to incinerate human bodies, except the funeral board and they apparently don’t think they have to answer to anyone ….
So our challenge to Bill Head as a community is this: we have solid evidence your business does pollute and you still have produced nothing to prove that it doesn’t. If everything is legally operated at your Lilburn Crematory, why not allow some independent party unbiased non-funeral-industry-related testing to be done there to rule out the presence of toxic releases, specific tests for mercury, lead, cadmium, dioxins, furans, hydrogen chloride. Allow testing not only inside, but in the surrounding residential area and across the street at the school where thousands of children have attended over the last 15 years completely unaware of your business. More than one person who work right around your Lilburn Crematory have said off the record that when you burn bodies the smell is horrid, the smoke is visible, and they feel very uncomfortable and creepy. Nobody has complained about your business? Sir, that is no longer a valid statement. We represent in signed petitions over 500 who oppose your plan to add a Crematory to your Tucker Funeral Home, 17 subdivisions and several businesses including childcare and eldercare facilities. We all know about your Lilburn Crematory that you were able to slip past the good people in the City of Lilburn, without informing them and allowing a public hearing on this matter. We know that you have long term relationships with many influential people and you enjoy a certain status in the community as evidenced by the many who hold you in high esteem. Your own home is nowhere near your funeral home in Tucker or your Crematory in Lilburn.
Nobody in this group set out to ruin your business or falsely accuse you of any wrongdoing. We understand your desire as a business owner to succeed and expand your business and we for the most part do not have a problem with cremation. Let the public know so what you’re doing with your business in Lilburn so they can decide whether or not they want to be subject to the pollution you’re putting out. Every listing anywhere you have ever had for your crematory business has your Tucker address on it. You have represented to the public that your crematory business and your Tucker funeral home are one and the same. Today, sir, they know differently.
If you are able to prove that there are no issues with mercury and other toxins, and you can show that you have been operating in compliance with the laws, inspections, and record keeping, if you can prove to the community that you are being a good steward of the environment, if you will allow the media to film your Lilburn location, we see no reason why you shouldn’t buy that building in Lilburn and build a nice new funeral home to house your Crematory business. That location has already been impacted by your presence there – there is no reason to bring that impact to our neighborhood in Tucker.
However, if it is revealed through testing that you HAVE been polluting that area, possibly even causing or worsening health issues for the people in that area, we think you should close that business, withdraw your special use permit request, close your funeral home and if you still wish to be a funeral service provider, find another place to locate where there are not neighborhoods like ours in all directions. Perhaps you can convince your own neighborhood’s residents to allow you to put one on your Stone Mountain property.
Then again, you did tell one of our neighbors that you would not buy a property near a funeral home, much less a Crematory.
Well, sir, we didn’t. YOU moved into OUR neighborhood. If anyone moves because of your plans, it should be YOU.