A New York City Council Member was joined by environmentalists during a recent rally in support of a proposed new heating oil standard that would increase the blending of renewable biodiesel with clean, ultra low sulfur heating oil, according to a recent article in the Queens Gazette.
City Council Member Costa Constantinides is the sponsor of a bill that would ensure more sustainable energy consumption by increasing the use of biodiesel with the ultra clean, reduced-sulfur heating oil that is already the standard in New York State. The bill would increase biodiesel use from the current standard of 2 percent to a 5 percent blend, and then raise that blend incrementally until we get to 20 percent.
“The increase from a 2 percent to a 5 percent blend would have an environmental impact equivalent of taking 45,000 cars off the road,” the article states. “A 20 percent blend can reduce carbon emissions by up to 40 percent, equivalent to taking 300,000 cars off the road. It would reduce the fossil fuel content of heating oil and increase use of a renewable energy source.”
There are currently 34 co-sponsors for Constantinides’ bill in the Council, according to the article. At an October 2015 hearing on the bill, the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, the Building Owners and Managers Association of Greater New York and several environmental advocates testified in favor.
“Cleaner heating oil has been a priority in New York City’s efforts to combat climate change,” the Gazette wrote. “In 2012,Mayor Bloomberg signed into law a bill that required home heating oil contain a 2 percent biodiesel blend. This year, Mayor de Blasio included cleaner heating oil as part of the OneNYC plan’s progress and highlighted the elimination of the dirtiest heating oil, No. 6 oil.
“These policies showed results. According to the Community Air Survey released in April, the significant improvements we’ve seen in our air quality have been in our building emissions due to a conversion to cleaner heating oil,” the Gazette wrote.
Constantinides said, “This bill would help reduce pollution, clean our air quality, and improve our public health. The Council, administration, environmental advocates, and building owners who would need to implement this policy are in agreement that this is an important and doable step in our efforts to combat climate change. Increasing biofuel in our home heating oil is a tested solution that will help bring us closer toward our goal of reducing carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050.”
“The fact of the matter is buildings make up 75 percent of our emissions and we have to take every opportunity to reduce them if we are to meet our ‘80 by ‘50’ goal,” said Marcia Bystryn, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “We applaud Council Member Constantinides for his leadership on this legislation to increase biofuel in home heating oil. Not only will it benefit our climate but it will also save lives by reducing the amount of particulate matter released into the air and in turn the incidence of the harmful respiratory diseases like asthma.”
“This bill, if passed, could be a significant step in New York City’s path toward a more sustainable future,” said Abbey Brown, Clean Energy Project Manager at Environmental Defense Fund. “NYC already enjoys its cleanest air since the 1960s, and the increased use of biodiesel in heating oil will only continue to improve air quality. EDF looks forward to working with Councilmember Constantinides and the New York City Council to ensure biodiesel is locally sourced, and to build on this tremendous progress.”
“There would be no added costs to homeowners if this policy is enacted,” the Gazette wrote. “The cost of biodiesel has historically been on parity with, or slightly cheaper than, standard heating oil.”
To read the Queens Gazette article, click here.
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