EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is testimony that Daniel Gianfalla, President and Chief Operating Officer of United Metro Energy Corporation, delivered to the New York City Council Environmental Protection Committee Regarding Intros. 642 and 880, which would mandate the use of B5 biodiesel blends in buildings and school buses.
Good Morning Mr. Chairman, members of the Environmental Protection Committee. My name is Daniel Gianfalla, President and Chief Operating Officer of United Metro Energy Corporation (UMEC). UMEC supplies and delivers ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, biodiesel, [Bioheat® fuel], heating oil, gasoline and natural gas throughout the New York Metropolitan area, from terminals in Greenpoint, Brooklyn; Riverhead, Long Island; and Calverton, Long Island. UMEC is owned by John Catstimatidis, who also owns United Refining Co., a major oil refinery in Pennsylvania that contributes to U.S. energy independence through domestic oil production.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify today.
UMEC has been a vocal advocate for New York City’s bioheat requirements and has actively supported legislation to phase out numbers 4 and 6 heating oil. Over the past decade, UMEC is proud to have partnered with the New York City Council and the Mayor’s Office, most recently supporting the 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050.
Today, we enthusiastically support Intros 642 and 880. We believe both these bills will help reduce harmful carbon emissions and help to keep our City secure, economically competitive and vibrant. Intro 642 builds on the record of success that New York City has established with the pioneering B2 fuel standard for heating oil in residential and commercial buildings.
Since the law went into effect, the City has replaced more than 80 million gallons of petroleum with renewable domestic biodiesel. And in that time, the price of heating oil in New York Harbor actually decreased while air quality has improved.
Buildings produce over 75 percent of emissions, and Intro 880 will help continue to reduce those emissions. In fact, increasing our biofuel use to a 5 percent blend in home heating oil would be equivalent to taking 45,000 cars off the road.
Consumers clearly win here. Over the past three years of a B2 biodiesel requirement in New York City, on average, biodiesel has been less expensive than traditional heating oil in 30 of 37 months by almost 23 cents per gallon. And, the fact that bioheat requires no change in equipment, is also a big advantage to consumers.
United Metro Energy is a believer in what biodiesel has to offer the City of New York. We are in the final phases of building a biodiesel-processing plant – right here in Brooklyn – creating good local jobs and promoting energy independence. Designed to produce 50 million gallons per year of biodiesel, UMEC’s processing facility will allow for the offset of 365,000 tons of carbon, or 730 million pounds, annually.
Moreover, a high percentage of biodiesel used for heating oil in New York City comes from recycled restaurant grease – which would otherwise clog up the city’s sewer systems.
The same advantages that apply to using biofuels in buildings apply to vehicles. We support the goals of Intro 880 to require all New York City school buses – roughly 9,500 vehicles – to use fuel that is a minimum of 5 percent biodiesel. This is the logical next step for New York City because the City has already successfully been using a variety of biodiesel blends in the City’s fleet and most recently, City-owned marine craft, like the Staten Island Ferry. United Metro Energy has a great deal of experience with its own fleet in this regard. Currently, all of United Metro’s trucks are fueled with Biomax, our enhanced, custom blended biodiesel.
Exhaust emissions from petroleum diesel fuel inhaled on a consistent basis have been linked to asthma and other respiratory conditions. We have an opportunity with this bill to reduce these pollutants and improve quality of life for New Yorkers.
We applaud Council Members Constantinides and Rosenthal and thank this Committee for your efforts in introducing legislation that promotes clean, green biofuels, as well as sensible clean-air policies.
Thank you for your time today.