New York City Issues Rule to Phase Out Dirty Heating Oil

Environmental Law


Pursuant to its duty to preserve, protect, and improve the air resources of the City of New York, and in connection with PlaNYC’s Initiative 8 to promote the use of cleaner-burning heating fuels, the City of New York has issued a new rule that will phase out the use of No.6 heating oil in buildings. The new rule will amend Chapter 2 of Title 15 of the Rules of the City of New York to eliminate the use of No. 6 heating oil in over 10,000 of the City’s buildings. As the dirtiest type of oil when burned, No. 6 releases Particulate Matter (PM) and Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) into the air, causing negative health effects including asthma, decreased lung function, and other respiratory symptoms.

Under the new rule, by 2015, existing boilers using No. 6 oil must switch to a low-sulfur version of the No. 4 heating oil or to an equivalent cleaner fuel such as No. 2 heating oil or natural gas, unless the owner demonstrates that the PM and NOx emissions of the No. 6 oil meets the standards of the rule. Newly installed boilers are required under the rule to use only No. 2 oil or natural gas. Complete phase out of heating oil No. 6 and No. 4 will occur in 2030, at which time all boilers must use No. 2 heating oil or natural gas. Fully implemented, this new rule is expected to reduce the amount of fine particles emitted as a result of heating buildings by at least 63% and help in the City’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2030.

For more information on heating oil regulations and fuel storage issues, please contact Miriam Villani or Jason Kaplan.

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