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Governor Paterson Signs New Law for Cleaner Heating Oil in New York State

Rich Kassel

Posted July 20, 2010

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Tonight, New York Governor David A. Paterson signed a new law (A.8642-A/S.1145-C) that will reduce pollution dramatically from the most commonly used heating oil for residences and businesses in our state.  I’ve previously written about this bill here and here.

Summing up the new law and my prior posts, this new law will require that this heating oil (called “#2 oil) will have to meet the same ultra-low standards for sulfur content as the diesel fuel used in trucks, buses, and other diesel engines, starting in July 2012 (i.e., in time for the 2012-2013 heating season).  

Today’s heating oil currently contains 175 times as much sulfur as highway diesel fuel, so implementing this law will deliver a dramatic reduction in the sulfur content of the fuel.  As sulfur levels drop, sulfur dioxide and particulate soot emissions will drop significantly, improving the air New Yorkers breathe and reducing the effects of acid rain.  And, because cleaner heating oil will translate into more efficient, reliable heating systems, the new bill should save consumers money over the long run.

Implementing this new law would eliminate roughly 1,000 tons per year of harmful soot pollution that triggers asthma emergencies, bronchitis, cancer, heart diseases, and premature deaths.  Plus, cleaning up heating oil will reduce nickel, a toxic metal that worsens heart disease and other ailments. 

And, with this law in place, it should be easier to pass Intro. 194, a NYC proposal to cap sulfur levels in #4 oil, which is a higher-sulfur heating oil that is also used in many buildings in the city.

The bottom line:

This new law is great news for anybody who breathes New York air during heating season.  The plume of black smoke that now comes from many of New York's buildings is on its way to becoming a thing of the past. 

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dhruv raizadaJul 22 2010 10:05 AM

though you are correct that decrease in sulfur content in fuel ! but sir increase in consumption accelerates production due to which pollution is increasing. In your previous blog it is written that the trucks used by american govt now are 95%pollution free but increase in trucks production also accelerates pollution from 1993 to 1995 there was a break in pollution but now it is increasing

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