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Residents support alternative energy but disagree on government's role

November 02, 2011|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com
  • Beckner
Beckner

The federal government's investments in alternative energy sources generated mixed reactions from Washington County residents who spoke with The Herald-Mail about it Wednesday.

Hagerstown resident David Beckner, who was painting the side of a building in downtown Hagerstown, said he supported the use of solar panels on houses.

"If every home had solar panels on top of it, things would be a lot cleaner," he said. "The government needs to do more things to help out the little people."

Beckner said that investments for alternative energy could also create more factory jobs.

Jerry Matheny of Hagerstown said that he thought the government needs to get behind businesses that are trying to use new sources of energy.

"The government needs to kick-start alternative energy programs, and then they will take off the way NASA did," said Matheny, who teaches a technology class at the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts. "We need to  have things like tax credits for people and businesses that use clean energy. We need to give incentives for it."

But Washington County worker Bryan Hale of Smithsburg said that, although he supported the government getting behind alternative energy, he did not think tax credits would work.

"Tax credits have not worked for ideas in the past," he said. "Alternative energy is worth the investment, though; it just has to be the right investment."

Lucas Rambo of Hagerstown, who had just finished watering the plants outside the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown, said that the best way to become independent of oil is for individuals to make the effort, not the government.

"I'm skeptical when people say there are new sources of alternative energy because they could just be trying to make money," he said. "Oil is not the way to go, but people need to find ways to consume less products that are harmful to the environment, not the government."

James Jackson, a military veteran from Hagerstown, said that although he thought investing in alternative energy was a good idea, it should not be among the government's top priorities.

"People are losing their homes, seniors need to be taken care of, and we need more support for veterans," he said. "That doesn't mean that investing in clean energy is a bad idea, but now is not the time to focus on that."

Carol Guessford, however, said that investing in alternative energy could help out  people suffering in the bad economy.

"If we invest here we won't have to rely on everybody else," she said. "We need to do things here and tap into our own resources."

Charles Messimer of Hagerstown said that he thought the government needed to invest even more than it does now in alternative energy because of how many sources it could use.

"There are all kinds of things the government and businesses could use," he said. "The more investments we make in energy sources, the more comprehensive impact we can have on the economy with factory jobs and things of that nature."

Laverne Chappell of Hagerstown said the government should not only invest in alternative energy, but coal as well.

"There is a way to burn clean coal to make electricity, and the government needs to figure it out," said Chappell, who noted her father was a coal miner. "We've got more coal than any other source of energy."

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