RYE, N.Y. – Westchester County Legislator Catherine Parker, D-Rye, has introduced new legislation at the County Board of Legislators to ban the use of heavy, dirty heating oils No. 6 and No. 4 in an effort to provide cleaner air in the county.
Parker made her announcement regarding the Westchester County 2014 Clean Air Act at a press conference held at Thornycroft, a Scarsdale-based residential cooperative. Parker, with John Bonito – co-president of Garthchester Realty, which manages Thornycroft – and the building’s superintendent, Artie Guttilla, coordinated Thornycroft’s conversion from heavy oil to natural gas. The conversion resulted in a substantial cost savings of about 45 percent and use of a cleaner-burning fuel.
According to the American Lung Association, pollutants from dirty heating oil have a direct correlation with a high number of asthma attacks, lung and heart diseases. The growing soot pollution increases emergency room visits related to these illnesses.
“Right now, there are over 500 buildings in Westchester using these problematic heating oils year-round and spewing toxic polluting matter into the air we breathe,” said Parker. “Using alternative methods for heating buildings and providing hot water will improve people’s health, and it will be considerably cleaner and less expensive. It will also save taxpayers money from the increasing cost of health care expenses, reduce reliance on foreign oil and spend less money on maintaining and operating our heating systems.”
The local law introduced by Parker will ban the use of Nos. 6 and 4 oils, beginning where gas lines are available in the western and eastern borders in Westchester. This process will continue throughout the county until there is no use of heavy oils past 2018. Currently, there are 507 properties in Westchester County using the heavy, dirty oil No. 6 or a slightly less dirty No. 4.
EnergizeNY, an energy improvement corporation, and the state Energy Research and Development Authority provide financial assistance to building owners making energy-efficient upgrades to move away from heavy-oil use.
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