By Samuel Diamond
Legislation introduced by New York State Senator Phil Boyle and New York State Assemblyman Steve Englebright, which would require 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” has advanced through the New York State Senate and New York State Assembly. It now awaits action by Governor Cuomo, who can either sign it into law or veto it.
If signed into law, this legislation would establish a uniform biofuel-blending standard for heating oil in the Downstate New York region, which includes Westchester, Bronx, New York (Manhattan), Richmond (Staten Island), Kings (Brooklyn), Queens, Nassau and Suffolk counties (Long Island). As reported in the June issue of Oil & Energy, these contiguous counties account for some 70% of New York’s total heating oil market. Per a separate piece of legislation signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio in October 2016, New York City will implement a five-percent minimum blending standard on October 1, 2017.
In response to Oil & Energy’s request for comment, Senator Boyle said, “The passing of my legislation in both the New York Senate and the Assembly to create a uniform biodiesel-blending standard in the New York Metro area once again shows that New York consistently leads the nation in reducing air emissions, improving energy efficiency, and growing the clean energy economy. I urge the Governor to sign this important piece of legislation into law and bring consistency to home heating oil while saving our consumers money.”
Previously, in January 2014, Governor Cuomo vetoed legislation that would have created a two-percent minimum standard for the entire state, on the grounds that it did not take into consideration a potential impact on the state’s Clean Heating Fuel Credit. At the time, all residential Bioheat® fuel users were able to claim a tax credit equal to one cent per gallon for each percentage of biodiesel in their heating oil, up to a maximum of 20 cents for B20 (20% biodiesel); so, if all New Yorkers used B2 (2% biodiesel), they could potentially all claim a credit of two cents per gallon. Since then, however, the Clean Heating Fuel Credit has been amended such that now only users of blends from B6 to B20 can claim it. Therefore, it stands to reason that the new legislation, calling for a B5 minimum, would not significantly impact the Clean Heating Fuel Credit.
“The adoption of a 5% minimum biofuel blending requirement for all heating oil sold in the Downstate NY area heralds a new day for our industry,” said Kevin Rooney, CEO of the Oil Heat Institute of Long Island. “Our goal for the past four years has been to establish ultra-low-sulfur B5 as a uniform standard for cleanliness, efficiency, and environmental compatibility for the heating oil industry … and with the Governor’s expected signature, this goal will soon become a reality.”