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NYC Council Votes for Study of Alternative Fuels for Ferries

A bill designed to encourage use of alternative fuel and fuel technologies in New York City ferries unanimously passed the City Council.

The legislation requires a two-year study of the feasibility of using alternative fuel, including biodiesel, and fuel technologies, including hybrid electric or fuel-cell electric, in city ferries, according to a statement issued Dec. 28 by the office of City Councilman Costa Constantinides, who sponsored the bill. These types of renewable fuel options produce fewer emissions and air pollution than standard petroleum diesel fuel, according to the statement. Petroleum diesel exhaust is a major source of air pollution, which causes adverse health effects including respiratory illnesses such as asthma and lung disease. Standard petroleum diesel fuel exhaust emits greenhouse gases which are contributors to climate change, the statement noted.

The study will consist of availability, storage, ferry compatibility, possible barriers, regulatory requirements, recommendations, and other issues related to use of these renewable fuels. Once the study is completed, the city will implement the use of renewable fuels if feasible and practicable.

Constantinides said, “Over the past four years, our city has made environmental protection a priority – whether through ending our reliance on fossil fuels, cleaning our air quality, building sustainable transit habits, or encouraging use of renewable energy. INT. 54 [the official designation assigned to the bill] will help increase use of renewable fuel in one of our city’s most sustainable transit options – our ferries. As use of our citywide ferry system has grown exponentially, we must innovate the type of energy we use to fuel the boats. Thank you to my Council colleagues for their support of this important bill that will make our city greener and more sustainable.”

The legislation applies to ferries owned by the city, such as the Staten Island Ferry, or operated on behalf of the city, such as the NYC Ferry system that operates along the East River.

Constantinides represents the New York City Council’s 22nd District, which includes Astoria along with parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights. He serves as the chair the City Council’s Environmental Protection Committee and sits on six additional committees: Civil Service & Labor, Contracts, Cultural Affairs, Oversight & Investigations, Sanitation, and Transportation. For more information, visit council.nyc.gov/costa.

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