MADISON, Wis. - Pirate costumes are not what you would expect to see at a protest, but it's something Texas protest organizer Andrew Dobbs hopes will help get a message across.
"We want people to have fun with it always, but we also hope that people know even down in Texas we are working to make sure that Madison-area companies are held accountable," Dobbs said.
Over two dozen environmental protesters from Texas and Madison came together to bring a message to Spectrum Brands. The company is a sponsor of Madison's Clean Lakes Festival and the parent company of Rayovac, a Middleton-based battery company.
"Rayovac admits themselves overseas that throwing batteries in the trash is harmful to the environment and a waste of resources. Over here they tell people to throw their batteries in the trash. We want them to be consistent," he said.
It's a message other protesters want the Clean Lakes Alliance to support.
"We are all about clean lakes, but we think that if you are going to sponsor a festival called the Clean Lakes Festival, you should own up to the pollution and do everything you can to reduce and prevent the pollution," Madison protester Maria Powell said.
Officials with the Clean Lakes Alliance said while they respect the protesters' message, their demonstration took away from the mission of Saturday's Clean Lakes Festival.
"I think it's very unfortunate that an out-of-state group would pit one environmental issue against another and really hijack a local event," said Elizabeth Katt-Reinders, director of policy and communications at the Clean Lakes Alliance.
The alliance started four years ago. Katt-Reinders said the group hopes to tackle other environmental issues in the future, but are currently focused on accomplishing one main objective, reducing phosphorous.
Despite mixed perceptions of protesters' demonstrations, their message did not go unnoticed. Dobbs said their efforts started a discussion with the company he hopes will continue.
"Through our pressure they have agreed to support legislation, but they still have not agreed to tell people to recycle their batteries," Dobbs said.
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