Bales of plastic at the Brookhaven Recycling Facility. A bill to...

Bales of plastic at the Brookhaven Recycling Facility. A bill to reduce plastic waste awaits passage in Albany. Credit: /Morgan Campbell

Daily Point

Fate of bill to reduce plastic waste to be decided in wee hours

One of the last pitched battles of the state legislative session is being waged over a bill that would reduce single-use plastic packaging in New York. The measure was first proposed five years ago, and environmentalists and industry representatives have been locking horns over it ever since.

When news broke Wednesday that State Senate and Assembly members had modified some of the bill’s details and both chambers were now poised to approve it, the industry lobbying campaign furiously ratcheted up once more. And calls went out to supporters of the bill to get to Albany Thursday to help deal with the onslaught.

One of those advocates, Citizens Campaign for the Environment executive director Adrienne Esposito, said Thursday afternoon that she and her colleagues — including the Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters, and Environmental Advocates — had been speaking to lawmakers all day. Asked how the effort was going, Esposito said, “I can’t say ‘well’ because it makes me very nervous,” an acknowledgment that they were at least holding their own.

The latest Packaging and Recycling Infrastructure Act would require companies with net incomes of more than $5 million to reduce the plastic used in packaging by 30% over 12 years and would ban 17 toxic chemicals currently used in that packaging. Earlier versions called for a 50% reduction, which the industry argued was too severe. The new goal still would make New York’s law “the strongest in the nation,” Esposito said.

After passage, the bill would still need to be signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul, but the effort might benefit from some fortuitous timing. After halting on Wednesday the plan to toll Manhattan’s central business district and getting tremendous blowback from advocates, Hochul might be looking for the environmental win a quick approval would bring. “You would think so, right?” Esposito said.

As of midafternoon, the bill was on track for debate and a vote in the Senate at 1 a.m. Friday and for the same in the Assembly around then or a little later. “I’ll be hanging over the rafters in the balcony watching,” Esposito said.

This is one occasion when people who generally believe in the principles of good government will be hoping that a bill does get passed in the middle of the night.

— Michael Dobie

Pencil Point

The Greatest Generation

Credit: Stiglich

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Reference Point

Lest we forget

The Newsday editorial and cartoon from June 7, 1944, the...

The Newsday editorial and cartoon from June 7, 1944, the day after D-Day.

Commemorations of D-Day taking place around the United States and across the pond have an added poignancy this year as the number of survivors of Operation Overlord, which turned the course of World War II in Europe, continues to dwindle.

The date — June 6, 1944 — is seared in the minds of many older Americans but seems to have less relevance to younger generations as the years pass.

The current members of Newsday’s editorial board remember what we wrote five years ago on the 75th anniversary of the invasion at Normandy, lauding how America and its allies were “united in a shared purpose, fighting the most terrible evil our nation and the countries who shared our ideals had ever faced.”

After recounting the details of the invasion and lamenting the wars between and within nations that followed, the board concluded that simply remembering the troops who landed at Normandy “is not enough. We also must honor them by continuing to fight for a free and prosperous nation, and a world where democracy and equality thrive. What a betrayal it would be to let what they won be undone.”

Those words continue to resonate now with democracy under attack in many places, most notably in Ukraine.

All of which got us wondering what Newsday’s editorial board had to say about D-Day when it happened.

On June 7, 1944, the day after D-Day, the board’s commentary consisted of quotations from Thomas Paine and Rudyard Kipling. The Paine passage, which apparently reflected the board’s sense of the struggle that loomed, had long been famous, reading in part: “These are times that try men’s souls … Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

The Kipling citation was from “Recessional,” a poem about the transient nature of power in which most of the stanzas closed with haunting words: “Lest we forget — lest we forget.” But it appeared under the headline “Tommy Atkins,” a reference to a different Kipling poem about the plight of ordinary British soldiers who are lauded when fighting on the front lines but treated poorly when they return home — a seeming plea by Newsday’s board to respect and honor America’s service members when they returned from battle.

Accompanying the two literary references was an evocative editorial cartoon that depicted Hitler looking at a large hourglass labeled “NAZI LUCK.” Looming over Hitler is a giant shadow in the shape of a man labeled “D-DAY” pointing at the hourglass, whose sands are nearly gone. The title of the cartoon was “Running Out.”

The image, as it turned out, was prophetic. By the following spring, the U.S. and its allies reached Berlin, Hitler killed himself on April 30, 1945, and Germany officially surrendered on May 8.

From D-Day to V-Day, in less than a year.

— Michael Dobie, Amanda Fiscina-Wells

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