NY Governor Signs Downstate B5 Law

Legislation takes effect July 1, 2018

By Samuel Diamond

With more than 1.8 million oil-heated homes, New York has the largest heating oil market of any state in the country. Consisting of Westchester County, New York City, Nassau County, and Suffolk County, the downstate region alone contains more than 1.3 million oil-heated homes. By this time next year, per state law, all of those 1.3 million will be using a minimum B5 Bioheat® fuel.

On Wednesday, September 13, 2017, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed Senate Bill 5422A, which now becomes Chapter 315 of the Laws of 2017. Introduced by New York State Senator Phil Boyle (R), who sponsored the bill along with State Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D), the new legislation requires that, “on and after July 1, 2018, all heating oil sold for use in any building within the counties of Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester shall be bioheating fuel that contains at least five percent biodiesel.”

By bringing these counties in line with New York City’s 5% minimum, which took effect on October 1, the law standardizes B5 Bioheat® fuel across the entire downstate region. This area accounts for approximately 70% of all heating oil sales in the state and represents the largest heating oil market in the country. The law does not apply to counties west and north of Westchester.

In response to the governor’s signature, Kevin Rooney, CEO of the Oil Heat Institute of Long Island (OHILI), wrote, “This new blending standard, coupled with the existing state requirement that all heating oil sold be ultra-low sulfur, means that by next year Oilheat dealers in the downstate region will be selling the cleanest, most environmentally compatible fuel of any heating oil market in the nation.”

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) also released a statement praising New York State and Governor Cuomo. “New York has long been a leader in recognizing the environmental, public health and economic benefits of biodiesel, not only in transportation applications but in the heating oil market as well,” said NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen. “We commend Governor Cuomo for signing this important bill that will provide cleaner air for more New Yorkers by improving emissions from heating oil.”

Rooney noted that this legislation would not have passed New York State Legislature and become law had it not been for Michael Trunzo, the Albany representative for OHILI, NBB and the New York State Energy Coalition (NYSEC). “While many individuals and groups were involved to some degree, this law would not have happened without his tireless efforts on our mutual behalf. If there are kudos for a job well done, he is the most worthy of recipients,” Rooney stated.

As reported in June, one key difference between the city and state legislation is that the former calls for the minimum biodiesel blend level to be raised to 10% in 2025, to 15% in 2030 and to 20% in 2034. These increases are absent from the state law, and Senator Boyle told Oil & Energy in a May interview that he does not intend to pursue blending requirements for Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk counties beyond five percent.

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