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Letter: Minnesota congresswoman was elected to serve

Ilhan Oman, Democrat of Minnesota, in 2017. She

Ilhan Oman, Democrat of Minnesota, in 2017. She began serving in Congress in January 2019. Credit: AP / Jim Mone

I guess Rep. Lee Zeldin does not understand that the administration’s travel ban affecting predominantly Muslim countries, which he supports, does not extend to congressional committee membership [“Zeldin, Omar trade barbs online,” News, Feb. 1].

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) was elected by the voters, just as Zeldin was in his, and she has as much right to serve on the same committee.

Criticism of Israel’s policies does not make a person anti-Semitic any more than taking issue with U.S. foreign policy makes a person anti-American. If the congressman thinks serving on the Committee on Foreign Policy Oversight and Investigations alongside a Muslim Somali-American does not reflect the consequences of democratic elections, perhaps he would be better off serving in the Knesset rather than Congress.

Marjorie Lundgren, Stony Brook

Fix how we create and manage waste

While source reduction is important for reducing our trash, the best way for municipalities to reduce waste immediately and dramatically is through unit pricing for curbside collection, also known as “pay as you throw” [“There’s value in recycling’s setback,” Opinion, Jan. 22]. Such programs charge residents by the trash bag or trash bin.

The Town of New Windsor, Maryland, implemented such a program in November. The town said that in its first two months, the program reduced solid waste by 44 percent while increasing the recycling rate from 21 percent to 38 percent. It also reported 98 percent participation. The community of 1,500 stands to save $30,000 a year. Mayor Neal Roop said that despite initial fears, there has been no increase in roadside dumping.

Our research in 2017 found that unit-pricing in several cities reduced daily waste generation from 4.5 pounds to less than one per day. Combined with composting of food discards and yard debris, cities can easily achieve 50 to 70 percent recycling.

Neil Seldman, Washington

Editor’s note: The writer is president of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization.

It is astonishing that we are reacting to plastic straws and bags as if they are a major cause of our pollution troubles. In this age of e-commerce, perhaps our lawmakers and pollution adversaries should address the tremendous amount of packaging waste. Why are small boxes put into huge boxes, along with long belts of shipping balloons?

Think of how many more boxes would fit into trucks if boxes were smaller. Let’s reduce this excess before we stop the use of useful, practical items like plastic straws and grocery bags.

Patrick Gangitano, Massapequa Park

Loop, a new shopping platform that will do away with disposable containers for many consumer items, has the right idea about packaging [“Big brands in the Loop try reusable containers,” Business, Jan. 25].

When I was a child, less packaging went into the trash. The milkman picked up empty glass bottles for reuse. We went to the beverage store once a week and bought glass bottles of soda and returned empties for the deposit. And I fondly remember metal tins for potato chips and pretzels that the Charles Chips man refilled at our home.

Our country needs to change. Companies that create piles of disposable containers need to be responsible. They should create ways to collect and reuse their own plastic containers. I look forward to trying Loop when it comes to New York.

Debra Saunders, Wantagh

Assemblyman should support wind project

Assemb. Fred Thiele Jr. is the one performing the bait-and-switch on the South Fork Wind Project [“Thiele yanks support for offshore wind farm,” News, Jan. 25). Why the sudden change of opinion? His reversal is disingenuous.

There are loud voices on the side of the commercial fisheries, but the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has made it clear that offshore wind has negligible potential to harm commercial fisheries. And the wind farm will bring economic rewards. The Long Island Power Authority awarded Deepwater Wind (now Orsted) the contract for the South Fork wind project because it delivered the best deal for solving East End power shortfalls. There will be U.S. and Long Island job growth from offshore wind no matter which company does the hiring.

Sustainability of our environment, including fisheries, calls for us to move to renewable energy. Thiele should listen to the whole chorus.

Joanne Moore, Long Beach

Editor’s note: The writer is a member of the Sierra Club and All Our Energy environmental advocacy organizations.

Cuomo in solid charge of MTA? Think again.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has been Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s responsibility since he took office in 2011, a responsibility he has all but ignored except to score cheap political points with his base and the media [“MTA is off the rails again,” News, Jan. 20].

So what’s the best way to get the MTA back on track according to the Newsday’s editorial board? Put Cuomo in charge of the MTA (with checks on gubernatorial power). Do you mean like the Moreland Commission, which he disbanded during its probe of public corruption? Has Newsday been taking early advantage of Cuomo’s push for legal marijuana?

Gerald Esposito, Hicksville

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