Riley unveils plan to make county more energy-efficient

Smith calls his proposal for environment `a stunt'

October 30, 2002|By Jonathan D. Rockoff | Jonathan D. Rockoff,SUN STAFF

Douglas B. Riley, the Republican candidate for Baltimore County executive, has pledged to take a number of steps to make county offices more environmentally sensitive and energy-efficient as part of a broader effort to safeguard the environment.

In a plan released Monday, Riley vowed to increase the number of energy-saving lights and appliances used in county offices and to use more recycled products. And he promised the county would buy more fuel-efficient cars and trucks.

"I think it is important that the county set an example," Riley said.

The policy proposals are the latest presented by county executive candidates as Election Day approaches. On Monday, Democrat James T. Smith Jr. released his plan for revitalizing older neighborhoods.

Smith dismissed Riley's proposals as "a stunt" and said they were issued in response to his more detailed position papers.

"It reads like a grade-school assignment on the environment," said Smith, adding that as a county councilman he helped establish agricultural preservation zones and successfully opposed a landfill proposed for the Mays Chapel area.

Riley's proposals include repairing leaking sewers, septic systems and landfills owned by the county. And he said he would preserve farmland and promote environmentally safe farming.

Riley said he would use "as much state and federal money as we can get" to save farmland.

He did not put a price tag on his package of proposals.

Riley said environmentalists and community activists should participate in county decision-making, and he proposed establishing an advisory group so they could discuss their concerns with county officials.

During the campaign, Riley has suggested he would drive an electric car if elected county executive. In an interview, he said his only problem with the idea is that electric cars are not made by American companies.

"But it may be worth doing to set an example," Riley said.

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