Discarded vegetables from a farm are moved into a compost pile...

Discarded vegetables from a farm are moved into a compost pile in Centereach. Credit: Linda Rosier

Recycle bill issues need some attention

The article regarding the Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act leaves me with some concerns [“Bill revamp shifts recycling, waste costs,” News, May 20]. I feel that other solutions should be explored before adding additional costs to businesses and taxpayers.

This bill moves the costs from the government and taxpayers to businesses, then back to consumers in the form of increased product cost and increased taxes. This hurts businesses and ultimately puts a burden on the taxpayer in two forms: higher product cost and additional taxes related to the bureaucracy added in the form of a Packaging Reduction Organization. How much would that bureaucracy cost?

In addition, many of the proposed benefits appear difficult to accomplish without proper research. There should also be a clear cost-benefit analysis to help taxpayers understand what costs they must absorb. This bill is another example of the ripple effect of the government not thinking through the burden to all concerned.

Are there more effective ways to accomplish this by partnering with the manufacturers and incentivizing them to develop solutions instead of penalizing them?

— John Malley, East Marion

Address methane in composting talk

Beth Fiteni makes composting sound like a panacea “Food scrap processing facilities needed,” Opinion, May 20]. It isn’t.

1. She suggests Long Island needs composting facilities. These facilities emit methane gas because as organic material degrades, methane is produced and does not smell pleasant. Not many places here are isolated enough to cause no odor issues for nearby residents. Do we want one near our home?

2. She also suggests use of digesters, which she admits produce methane, but can “produce energy from the methane.” Of course, by burning the methane. It may be smaller scale, but it is no different than Exxon flaring methane for energy recovery at refineries. We want that?

3. Her backyard composting generates methane emissions, too. If we followed her lead, we’d have much local fertilizer available, but we’d also be converting organic matter into widely distributed, uncontrolled methane emissions. We want that?

In a landfill, we can capture methane emissions and hopefully do something intelligent about processing them safely. Is that better? I don’t know. I do know that environmental solutions come with benefits and costs, which need to be weighed. Opinions that fail to focus on both are, at best, not helpful and, at worst, misleading.

— Doug Augenthaler, Glen Head

We pay to replenish land of the rich. Why?

Fifty years ago, I took an urban planning course at a midwestern university. The instructor regularly said, “Don’t build in the floodplain.” On Long Island, the floodplain is often the most expensive real estate [“How rising sea levels will change Long Island,” News, May 19]. Everyone seems to want to live next to the water.

In Westhampton, you often see houses claiming to have a water view, which quite often is marshland. If folks want to pay extra to live next to the water, that’s fine with me. I just don’t know why my tax dollars have to go to replenishing land that typically belongs to the wealthiest landowners.

If I had a sinkhole open on my property, I’m pretty sure our politicians would not be asking the federal government to pay to fill it in.

— Bill Olson, Westhampton

Save tree biodiversity — don’t demolish it

Port Washington North Mayor Robert Weitzner touts his dedication to increasing street tree biodiversity in his village [“$540G will help with tree survey,” Our Towns, May 10].

Meanwhile, his administration is enabling the destruction of a large, wooded area for construction of a condo, “New Oasis,” described as a 55-plus community. But the developer’s representative said at a planning board meeting that it would allow several early sales to buyers of any age, with resale restricted to those 55 and older.

The surrounding community has been fighting this plan for decades, and one would be hard-pressed to find residents who favor it.

This forest is home to many species. In speaking with me, Robert Barbach, village building superintendent, denigrated the area as a “dumping ground.” If there has been dumping, the better answer is to clean it, not destroy it. Its trees prevent erosion and reduce runoff, protecting the properties of residents on the surrounding slopes.

The village hall to be built also doesn’t make up for the loss of trees or the long construction period and use of piledrivers that will further erosion, or the significant traffic, and safety concerns likely will be ignored.

— Suzanne Mueller, Port Washington North

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