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TOPIC: Dirty heating oil is fouling NYC's air!

A recent report released by the Environmental Defense Fund ( reveals that a small percentage of NYC buildings are responsible for massively degrading local air quality by burning sludge heating oil with high sulfur content, also known as No.4 and No.6 heating oil.

One million households and thousands of businesses in New York City consume approximately 500 million gallons of high sulfur heating oil annually. Because the sulfur content of fuels is directly related to emissions of fine particulate matter, heating oil ranks as the largest source of fine particulate matter in the City. Able to penetrate into the deepest portions of the lungs, fine particulate matter contributes to premature death from heart and lung disease, cardiac arrhythmias, heart attacks, asthma attacks, and bronchitis.

EDF is pushing the NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection to force the switch from No.4 and No.6 heating oil to No.2 heating oil by promulgating a new rule that would cease to renew boiler permits for buildings burning the dirtiest fuels. EDF recommends a phase out schedule for No.4 and No.6 heating oil that takes into account the financial and technical circumstances of individual buildings.

Other groups are looking to tackle the dirty heating oil problem on other fronts. The New York League of Conservation Voters has put its weight behind NY Senate bill S1145A ( This bill has been criticized for not addressing No. 4 and No. 6 heating oil, it would mandate a switch from No. 2 heating oil to ultra-low sulfur diesel (the type of fuel currently mandated for use in on-road diesel vehicles).

James Gennaro, NYC Councilman and Chair of the Environmental Protection Committee, introduced legislation in 2007 that would have phased in ultra-low sulfur diesel heating oil ( This bill has been criticized for including a biodiesel mandate that requires heating oil be blended with a certain percentage biodiesel.

And HabitatMap has urged the NYC Council to abandon support for biodiesel and introduce a bill that would phase out No. 6, No. 4, and No.2 heating oil in favor of ultra-low sulfur diesel heating oil (
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