May 26 2014
Vicki E. Alger
Likely many of us, I have fond memories of organizing carwashes as part of school, church, or neighborhood fundraisers. Well, thanks to new regulations in Arlington, Virginia, philanthropic kids now need a state permit, even if they’re washing cars on private property. As Watchdog.org ‘s Eric Boehm reports:
Charity car washes and car wash fundraisers are now banned…after the city’s Department of Environmental Services issued new rules for stormwater and water runoff. The county pins the blame on the Virginia General Assembly, which approved more stringent water regulations last year. ‘There is an underlying reason why most types of car washing are not allowed under state and federal stormwater regulations,’ DES spokeswoman Shannon Whalen told the Arlington News.
Those important reasons: washing cars can cause chlorinated water and soap to wash into local streams, which flow into the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay.
But Whalen found a silver lining in the new regulations.
‘There are educational and environmental benefits that come with finding new and environmentally friendly ways to raise money for extracurricular activities,’ she said.
Interesting that a government official would be long on red tape and short on helpful suggestions. After all, kids and charitable adults can’t exactly fundraise through taxation. Perhaps folks in Arlington could try bake sales—just don’t have them too close to school grounds. Otherwise, they might run afoul of DC healthy eating SWAT teams.
Sadly, this is the sort of thing that happens when government takes good intentions way too far. Kids wanting to clean cars and raise money themselves are hardly the biggest threats to the environment. These regs also send a terrible message to hard-working young people: if you need money for something don’t break a sweat. Just get a hand-out from your parents or the government. It’s easier on you…oh, and the environment, too!