All New York City buildings must stop using the nastiest types of fuel oil by 2030, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Thursday.
One percent of the buildings in the Big Apple create 86 percent of the city’s soot pollution – more than all vehicles on the road - because they burn an out-dated low quality fuel (known as No. 6 and No. 4 heating oil), the mayor said.
The polluting buildings, said the mayor, include “200 public schools,” which the city will convert to cleaner fuels.
The new regulations, “will do more than congestion pricing” to clean up the air, the mayor said, referring to his rejected proposal to charge drivers entering Manhattan.
But Bloomberg appeared to still have hope for resurrecting congestion pricing, which was squashed by Albany politicians fearful of the wrath of outer-borough voters. “The problems persist and we still have to do something about it,” he said.
Bloomberg’s Earth Day Eve speech was in conjunction with his annual progress report on “PlaNYC,” a project aimed at preparing the city for a million new residents, ameliorating climate change and improve quality of life while fortifying the economy.
* One half-million trees have been planted, said Bloomberg, who cracked, “thank Bette Midler,” the honey-voiced founder of The New York Restoration Project, which aims to get another half million into the ground. Trees, said Bloomberg, not only improve air quality, but are a boon for property values.
* Greenhouse gas emissions – which the mayor wanted to decrease by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, are now 13% under 2005 levels.
* There has been progress in extending City Water Tunnel No. 3, one of the main arteries supplying water to New York City. If an earthquake or other disaster destroyed one of these main arteries, said Bloomberg, “we wouldn’t be able to inhabit half the city,” so building redundancy into the infrastructure is critical.
* The mayor gave props to the MTA for its progress on extending the No. 7 train to the far west side, deeming the agency’s work “spectacular.” Over 30 percent of the taxi fleet, he said, is now “green,” meaning the cabs are more energy efficient.
* Waterways are becoming steadily cleaner.T Bloomberg said he was given personal assurance of this fact by a friend who regularly swims the surrounding rivers who’s told him, “he doesn’t run into things he used to run into.”