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NYC's new heating regulations: Smog city until 2030

Black smoke will still billow out of apartment buildings and into the city’s air — even with new laws phasing out pollutants.

Black smoke will still billow out of apartment buildings and into the city’s air — even with new laws phasing out pollutants.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg passed regulations for the city’s buildings Thursday, requiring owners to switch to cleaner heating oils.

But the ban on the two worst heating oils — which health experts say cause pollution and health problems like asthma — will not completely take effect until 2030.

“We can’t afford to wait,” said Diane Nardone, an attorney whose West Village building just made the $225,000 conversion to natural gas. “The longer we wait, the worse it’s going to be.”

Under Bloomberg’s plan, 3,000 buildings would stop burning heating oils Nos. 4 and 6. Those are the two cheapest but also dirtiest oils available; both have high levels of sulfur and nickel.

Even iconic, ritzy buildings like the San Remo on Central Park West churn out black smoke from burning the oil, the Environmental Defense Fund charges. Calls to the San Remo were not returned.

Starting immediately, owners will be denied a permit to heat their building unless they use natural gas, or step down to a less sulfuric heating oil, such as No. 2.

Building owners will have until 2015 to stop using the most noxious heating oil, No. 6.

But building owners still have until 2030 to keep burning No. 4.


Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter at @AlisonatMetro.

 
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