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Local council members sponsor legislation requiring increased use of biodiesel

Costa Constantinides

Costa Constantinides

Sept. 29, 2016 By Hannah Wulkan

The City Council voted to make the city greener yesterday by increasing the use of biodiesel in home heating oil.

Local Council Members Costa Constantinides, Jimmy Van Bramer, and Julissa Ferreras-Copeland sponsored the bill along with over 30 other Council Members, ensuring more sustainable energy consumption throughout the city.

The bill requires that biodiesel make up five percent of fuel by October 2017, as opposed to the standard two percent now, and raises the requirement to 20 percent by 2034 in incremental measures.

“Expanding use of biofuel in our heating oil would reduce pollution, upgrade air quality, and improve our public health,” Constantinides said in a statement.

He added that the new legislation “is a tested solution that will bring us closer toward our goal of reducing carbon emissions 80% by 2050 and help us combat the effects of climate change.  This is a doable policy that will make our city more sustainable and support green jobs.”

Blending biofuel in to heating oil has been common practice in New York City since 2012, when former Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed a law requiring home heating oil to contain a two percent biodiesel blend. Biodiesel is mostly made up of used cooking grease from restaurants around the city.

Several local advocacy groups also weighed in on the new law.

“The fact of the matter is buildings make up 75% of our emissions and we have to take every opportunity to reduce them if we are to meet our 80 by 50 goal,” President of the New York League of Conservation Voters Marcia Bystryn said in a statement. “Not only will increasing the biofuel blend in our home heating oil help fight climate change, but it will also save lives by reducing the amount of particulate matter released into the air.”

The new legislation will bring no additional cost to homeowners, as the cost of biodiesel has historically been similar to, if not slightly lower than, traditional petroleum.

The bill would also allow the Department of Environmental Protection to waive the bill’s requirements if there is a lack biodiesel supply, the price of biodiesel is considerably greater than the price of petroleum, or a particular boiler type has a warranty or compatibility issue.

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