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State considers Environmental Justice score for proposed White Marsh crematorium

Neighbors circulating petition to stop crematory from being built
crematory site.jpg
Posted at 7:58 AM, Apr 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-25 09:31:42-04

UPDATE: APRIL 25, 2023 MARYLAND DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT MEETING IS POSTPONED

Neighbors of a proposed crematory along Philadelphia Road in White Marsh will get to hear more details about the plans Tuesday night, at a Maryland Department of the Environment meeting at the White Marsh Volunteer Fire Company.

The owners of Evans Funeral Chapel and Cremation would like to build a crematory at 11543 Philadelphia Road in White Marsh.

People who live nearby worry that not only is the site within walking distance of a shopping center and an animal hospital but that it would be too close to their homes.

The plan is to have it open in early 2024 but there are about 200 signatures on a petition to stop the project from moving forward.

Neighbors have health and safety concerns about contaminants put in the air they breathe from having a crematory so close to home.

RELATED: Crematory concerns in White Marsh

Since October 1, 2022, Maryland law requires a person applying for a permit from the Department of the Environment to include the project's Environmental Justice or EJ score for the proposed site.

The EJ tool allows users to explore environmental concerns and determine a score for census tracts in the state.

The EJ score evaluates potential pollution exposure, environmental effects from that pollution, sensitive populations, as well as socioeconomic factors.

The Department of the Environment verified an EJ score for the proposed White Marsh crematorium site to be 41 as a statewide percentile.

Information regarding the environmental and socioeconomic indicators contributing to that EJ score have not yet been reviewed by the department of the environment.

However, that information will be reviewed once the department conducts a technical review the entire application for the site.

Evans Funeral Chapel and Cremation president Charlie Evans encourages anyone with concerns to reach out to him.

“I’m not going into, or moving into white marsh to ruffle people’s feathers. I want to be a part of the community and serve the community there,” Evans said.

“All the levels that come out of a crematory, as far as pollutants are concerned, are well below what the state of Maryland's requirements are,” Evans added.

Many neighbors with existing health problems are especially concerned about the safety of the site.

White Marsh resident Clareth Arthur said “I have past history with cancer, and I am concerned with all the pollutants that are going in the air.”

“I have a hard time breathing now. I don’t need to have more congested into my lungs, I don’t need that,” Arthur added.

The Maryland Department of the Environment Air and Radiation meeting is at 6:00 p.m. at the White Marsh Volunteer Fire Company located at 10331 Philadelphia Road, just a few miles down the road from the proposed crematorium site itself.

Evans Funeral Chapel and Cremation permit application