Constantinides Introduces Bill to Increase Biofuel in Home Heating Oil

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a press release from New York City Council Member Costa Constantinides. Oil & Energy will follow up with a news article on this landmark bill, which proposes that all heating oil sold in the City include 5 percent biodiesel, effective next year.

New York City Hall – City Council Member Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) today introduced INT. 642, which would increase the use of biodiesel in home heating oil.

The bill would mandate that home heating oil contain a 5% blend of biofuel by October 2016 and create a framework to up that blend level every 5 years until we reach 20% by 2030. The current mandate, Local Law 43 of 2010, required home heating oil to contain a 2% blend by 2012.

Constantinides said, “As we move closer toward our city-wide commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050, we must take advantage of all opportunities to get us there. Increasing biofuel in home heating oil will make our city more sustainable and healthy. Buildings produce over 75% of our emissions and this bill will help reduce those emissions in an innovative way. Increasing our biofuel use to a 5% blend in home heating oil would be equivalent to taking 45,000 cars off the road. Biodiesel also brings good jobs to our local economy.”

Using a 5% biofuel blend (B5) can reduce carbon emissions equivalent to taking 45,000 cars off the road. B20 fuel can reduce carbon emissions by up to 40%, equivalent to taking 300,000 cars off the road.

A B20 policy would save the average household $600 over 5 years on home heating costs. The biodiesel industry supports more than 10,000 direct and indirect jobs in New York.

Biodiesel is sourced from used cooking oil from over 20,000 restaurants throughout the city. It is also made from soybean plants using only the oil portion of the soybean – the protein portion remains available for food. U.S. Department of Energy researchers have also discovered a way to produce biofuel out of algae, and are exploring ways to make it viable on a large scale.

“We applaud Council Member Costa Constantinides for introducing such an environmentally forward-thinking bill that would increase the requirement in heating oil from B2 to B5 for all buildings in New York City and then scale up to B20 – or a 20% biodiesel blend,” said John Maniscalco, CEO of New York Oil Heating Association. “We look forward to continuing to work with the New York City Council and the Mayor’s office to lead the City toward a more sustainable future. We are now in our third winter at a B2 bio-fuel standard and it has been an unequivocal success. Now it’s time to move on to B5 blend and inch closer to an eventual goal of B20.”

“We are thrilled Councilman Constantinides has introduced legislation to bring cleaner air and more green jobs to the City through enhanced use of biodiesel. Climate change is becoming a larger and larger issue and Councilman Constantinides is positioning himself as an early leader and visionary. Reducing the carbon intensity of the City’s space heating fuel by more than 15% would be a major accomplishment,” said Shelby Neal, Director of State Governmental Affairs, National Biodiesel Board.

Members of Teamsters Local 553 deliver biofuel that is used in home heating oil. President of Local 553 Demos Demopoulos said, “The Teamsters commend Council Member Constantinides for his commitment to addressing climate change and environmental pollution in New York. Our members do essential work, delivering the fuel that keeps New Yorkers warm every winter. We look forward to working with the City Council and all stakeholders to bring cleaner fuels into our city.”

Costa Constantinides represents the New York City Council’s 22nd District, which includes his native Astoria along with parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights. He serves as the chair the City Council’s Sub-Committee on Libraries and sits on seven standing committees: Civil Service & Labor, Contracts, Cultural Affairs, Environmental Protection, Oversight & Investigations, Sanitation, and Transportation. For more information, visit council.nyc.gov/costa.

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