Officials are looking to ban wood and coal-fired ovens in New York City restaurants citing health reasons—a proposal that could severely hit many of the city’s iconic pizzerias.
“All New Yorkers deserve to breathe healthy air and wood and coal-fired stoves are among the largest contributors of harmful pollutants in neighborhoods with poor air quality,” Ted Timbers, a spokesperson from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), said in a statement on Sunday, according to a June 25 report by the New York Post. “This common-sense rule, developed with restaurant and environmental justice groups, requires a professional review of whether installing emission controls is feasible.”
The DEP’s proposed new rules would require eateries using coal and wood-fired ovens to cut carbon emissions by up to 75 percent.
The proposed rules come after New York became the first state in the United States to ban natural gas stoves in May. The rules apply to most new buildings starting in 2026, with the only exemptions being hospitals and manufacturing facilities.
The DEP’s new policy will require restaurants having wood or coal ovens to hire an architect or engineer to conduct a feasibility report about installing emission control devices to achieve the targets.
If the report determines that a reduction of 75 percent or above is not possible or that emission control devices cannot be installed, it must identify any measure that could provide at least a 25 percent emission reduction or explain why no such devices can be installed.
The policy could force pizzerias to shell out thousands of dollars to comply with the new regulations. Paul Giannone, the owner of Paulie Gee’s pizzeria in Greenpoint, said that he has already shelved $20,000 on an air filtration system in anticipation of the new rule, according to the outlet.
Restaurants can apply for a waiver, but evidence proving hardship will be required to receive such an exemption. A city official stated that the rule would only apply to less than 100 restaurants in NYC.
Criticism Against Climate Agenda
The proposed rule by NYC officials is attracting criticism, with some questioning how regulating less than 100 restaurants would significantly impact reducing carbon emissions.
“This is utter bs. It won’t make a difference to climate change,” billionaire Elon Musk said in a June 26 tweet.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) slammed the leftist agenda for targeting pizzerias. “New York City wants to ban wood-fired pizzerias. In the name of their climate agenda, the Left wants to destroy small businesses,” she said in a June 26 tweet.
“Green madness: You’d have to burn a pizza stove 849 years to equal one year of John Kerry’s private jet,” Marc Morano, a former senior staff at the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee, said in a June 27 tweet.
Democrat NYC Mayor Eric Adams has justified the newly proposed rules. “Let’s be clear, every toxic entity that we remove from our air is adding up to the overall desire to deal with shrinking our carbon footprint. … Let’s let the public weigh in, and then we could have a conversation if we’re going to move forward or not,” he said during a press conference on Monday.
Implementing the Rule
The new rules would apply to restaurants with a wood or coal-fired oven installed before 2016 as a law passed in 2015 already subjected newly installed ovens from 2016 to comply with emissions standards.
The emission control rules for ovens prior to 2016 were supposed to be rolled out in 2020. However, the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the implementation of the rule until now, DEP officials told the New York Post.
According to the department, the rules have been framed after consulting an advisory committee that consisted of restaurateurs.
Paesans Pizza, a restaurant operating in NYC since 1994, criticized the proposed rules. “Where’s the historical society fighting for these pizzerias that have 100plus [sic] years of history and part of New York’s Pizza culture. [sic] Ted Timbers has just been banned by every pizzeria in NY state. Time to move Ted,” it said in a June 27 tweet.
Bruce Blakeman, a Republican executive of Nassau County, which borders NYC’s Queens borough, slammed the proposal.
“You don’t mess with a New Yorker’s Pizza or Bagels. Period. Here in Nassau, your local pizza place will continue to be able to make your pie the same way they have been for decades,” he said in a June 26 tweet.
From The Epoch Times