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Mayor de Blasio Signs B5 Bioheat® Fuel Bill

- 12:55 pm - October 19th, 2016

The sky was clear yesterday afternoon over City Hall, as Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City Council Environmental Protection Committee Chairman Costa Constantinides, and representatives from the Oilheat and biofuel industries gathered for the signing of INT 642-A. Several New York State Energy Coalition members were on hand to witness the signing of the bill, which will raise New York City heating oil’s standard biodiesel component from 2% to 5% by October 2017 and incrementally to 20% by 2034, and the feeling of excitement in the room was palpable as Mayor de Blasio and company ushered in a new era for NYC Bioheat® fuel.

“We have set very clearly and adamantly our goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050, and [to] have the cleanest air of any large American city by 2030,” Mayor de Blasio said. “By requiring that we use heating oil with more biodiesel, this bill will help us to achieve those goals and combat the effects of climate change,” he added before handing over the podium to NYC Councilman Constantinides, the sponsor of INT 642-A. 

As has been pointed out time and time again in the NYSEC blog and in our HOT Ideas newsletter, Councilman Constantinides is one of the city’s biggest champions of Bioheat fuel, and he once again took the opportunity to extol its benefits. “Expanded use of biofuel in our home heating oil will reduce pollution, upgrade our air quality and improve our public health,” he noted, explaining that the increase from B2 to B5 Bioheat fuel would have the environmental impact equivalent of removing 45,000 cars from the road. 

In addition to reiterating Bioheat fuel’s highly touted environmental benefits, Constantinides touched on the fuel’s economic impact. “Biodiesel is also cost-effective,” he said. “Its cost has been historically the same [as conventional heating oil] or cheaper, [and] our biofuel comes predominantly from used cooking grease that’s recycled from our restaurants across the city, and from the waste products of soybean crops.” Recognizing that Bioheat fuel’s economic impact branches out to many different sectors, Constantinides said, “Since the original biodiesel bill was passed four years ago, a new green industry has sprouted up, and that industry will continue to grow green jobs here in NYC for years to come.”

The industry leaders who spoke in support of INT 642-A were no less enthusiastic. “This is a terrific measure that will help improve not just the economy for New Yorkers, but their lives and health and well-being as well,” said Scott Hedderich of REG, North America’s largest biodiesel producer and one of the largest consumers of NYC’s used cooking oil.

Daniel Falcone, of Approved Oil and Soundview Energy, proudly proclaimed, “We have the cleanest heating oil in the entire country right here in New York City,” and made it a point to thank NYSEC CEO Rocco Lacertosa for “his leadership [and] commitment to Bioheat.” As a final word on behalf of his colleagues, Daniel promised, “We can commit that we will continue to help the city...”

We at NYSEC share his sentiment. NYSEC CEO Rocco Lacertosa has issued an official statement, declaring:

"Today, New York City's oil heat is cleaner than ever. We are pleased to say that four years after the B2 fuel standard was implemented, Bioheat® has been a great success. We applaud the Mayor for signing and the City Council for passing the new Bioheat® fuel standard starting at B5 and going up to B20, and we commend our partners in the environmental community and labor community for their commitment to this important environmental issue. Tomorrow's oil heat will go a long way towards improving air quality, reducing global warming, cutting our dependence on fossil fuels and foreign oil, as well as ultimately bringing New Yorkers a high quality, environmentally advanced heating product. Furthermore, this legislation will greatly assist the heating oil industry in its ability to meet consumer demands for greener and more affordable energy and to compete against global natural gas utilities. This measure ensures the role of renewables in our heating oil for many decades to come and we are very proud to play a key role in our health and our environment here in New York City, as well as globally."