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Citizens for the Protection of Washington County considers protest against recycling charge

January 03, 2013|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com

HALFWAY — A citizens group upset with a county fee being imposed on citizens for recycling is considering civil disobedience to bring attention to their opposition to the charge.

An agenda item for a meeting Thursday night of Citizens for the Protection of Washington County called for risking arrest by refusing to pay for a permit to recycle trash.

Joe Lane, president of the group, said he has talked to other people who think it is wrong to force people to pay to recycle and he said civil disobedience would be a way to show how this “little hick place” views recycling.

Lane talked about having the “media in tow” along for the civil disobedience, including inviting media outlets from as far away as Baltimore.

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Members of the group talked about how environmental issues get little respect in the county and they considered compiling a list of environmental struggles in the county.

“It is the most hostile county to the environment I have ever seen,” Lane said during a meeting at The Volunteer Fire Company of Halfway that attracted 10 participants.

Allen Swope said he had concerns about resorting to civil disobedience.

If group members break the law “it can come back and bite you and bite you hard,” said Swope, adding that lawsuits could be a possibility.

The county eliminated unattended public recycling bins in various spots, which officials said were costing money and not generating revenues to offset the expenses.

County residents can still recycle at bins at the landfill and transfer stations after buying a permit.

Members of Citizens for the Protection of Washington County talked about reaching out to other groups, like an environmental organization at Hagerstown Community College, to built support for environmental changes in the county and talking to neighboring Frederick County about how they offer recycling.

Sally Hatch said one sign of hope for the environment when David S. Gysberts was elected recently as mayor of Hagerstown. Hatch said Gysberts has shown interest in such issues.

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