Burning heavy fuel oils has significant negative impacts for our environment and health. Boilers utilizing number six and number four heating oil emit high levels of life-threatening pollutants, like particulate matter, that can trigger asthma attacks, contribute to heart disease, lung cancer, and premature death. Children and older adults are especially susceptible to the effects of air pollution.
New York City successfully eliminated the use of number six heating oil and is in the process of helping building owners transition off number four heating oil. Westchester County is on track to eliminate the use of both fuels by 2020, starting with number six in July, 2018. These local ordinances apply to all buildings in New York City and Westchester, not just those occupied by government.
While this legislation rightly aspires to phase out the use of heavy fuel oils in state government buildings statewide, it may preempt municipalities from adopting broader and more aggressive phase-out schedules, like those enacted in New York City and Westchester. We urge the sponsor to consider amending the legislation to allow local governments to eliminate the use of heavy fuel oils at an accelerated pace and to include language preserves the authority for local governments to act on all fuel oils.
This bill adds a new section to Article 19 of the Environmental Conservation Law to prohibit the use of heavy fuel oils in state owned buildings. The legislation requires the phase-out of number six fuel oil by 2020 and number four fuel oil by 2022.