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NYC Council Passes Bill to Boost Biodiesel in Fuel Oil; Mayor Expected to Sign

The New York City Council passed legislation that would raise the biodiesel level in heating oil sold within the city to 20% by 2034. The current level of biodiesel in heating oil sold in the city is 2%.

The bill was passed by the City Council on Sept. 28, confirmed the office of Councilman Costa Constantinides. The councilman is the chair of the council’s Committee on Environmental Protection.

The bill passed by a 47-3 vote, and is expected to be signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio, according to a press release issued by the National Biodiesel Board. The bill will increase the amount of biodiesel in heating oil in the city to 5% by Oct. 1, 2017; to 10% in 2025; to 15% in 2030; and to 20% in 2034, the Biodiesel Board said.

“New York City is once again setting an example for the rest of the Northeast to follow by ensuring consumers are provided with the nation’s cleanest heating oil,” Donnell Rehagen, chief operating officer of the National Biodiesel Board, said in the press release. “Not only does biodiesel dramatically reduce carbon emissions, it reduces other harmful pollutants as well as smog, making New York’s air healthier to breathe.”

A variety of organizations supported the legislation, including the heating oil industry, labor organizations, and environmental stakeholders, the Biodiesel Board said.

“The New York Oil Heating Association has played a vital and vocal role in advocating for the increased use of Bioheat fuel,” said Rocco Lacertosa, CEO of the Oil Association. “We applaud the City Council for passing legislation that will reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality in New York City and we commend our partners in the environmental and labor community for their dedication to this issue. Heating oil in New York City is already, by far, the cleanest heating oil sold anywhere in the United States.” Lacertosa said the legislation “is a necessary next step to promote a more sustainable fuel that will reduce our contribution to climate change while enhancing green job creation, encouraging energy independence and supporting local businesses.”

It is estimated that the increase from a 2% biodiesel blend to a 5% blend in the city would reduce emissions equivalent to taking 45,000 cars off the road, the Biodiesel Board said. Increasing the biodiesel content to 20% would be the equivalent of removing more than a quarter-million cars, according to the NBB.

Made from a mix of resources such as soybean oil, recycled cooking oil and animal fats, biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement fuel, the Biodiesel Board said. It is the first commercial-scale fuel to meet the EPA’s definition of an “Advanced Biofuel”—meaning the EPA has determined that biodiesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50% when compared with petroleum diesel, the NBB said.

With nearly 200 member companies, the National Biodiesel Board represents the biodiesel and renewable diesel industry.

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