Council expected to pass major air code overhaul this week.

Posted on April, 23 2015

First proposed a year ago by Bill de Blasio, the 200-plus page bill will pass through the Council this week.  This legislation marks the most sweeping update of the New York City’s Air Pollution Control Code since 1975.

We as New Yorkers have borne the brunt of poor air quality for too long.  This legislation underscores the city’s commitment to right this wrong by both addressing previously unregulated sources of pollution and going beyond requirements set by the state and federal governments.

New York has made headway in attacking large, industrial sources of air pollution but the bill seeks to whittle away at smaller, still persistent sources of airborne particulate matter. While the city’s air is cleaner than ever, certain communities still suffer increased rates of asthma and other respiratory ailments.

Below are some interesting aspects of the bill:

  • There will be regulations governing char broilers in restaurants. Those broilers that cook more than 875 pounds of meat and fish a week will be required to have special filters that cut emissions. Restaurants will be required to keep records to present to inspectors.
  • Emergency and stationary power generators will be more closely tested and monitored to meet Tier IV emissions standards set by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Fireplaces and wood-burning stoves will be a thing of the past.  After the bill’s passage, no new buildings will be permitted to use wood as a source of heat except in the case of emergencies. Buildings with fireplaces and wood stoves will be required to use a specially treated type of wood that does not release as much ash into the air.
  • School buses will be retrofitted to meet the latest emissions standards and new buses will be required to have low-emission engines. Richards had wanted the retrofitting process to move more quickly but because of complications with engine manufacturers, the full fleet will not be done until 2020.
  • The bill widens the powers of city agencies to enforce the air code rules as well as upping fines on offenders.