Wednesday, October 28, 2015

NYC City Council, gas lobby square off over biofuel

Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration tacitly endorsed two bills to increase the use of biofuel citywide, but a Monday hearing on them grew heated nonetheless when oil lobby representatives showed up to challenge them.
David Giambusso reports for Politico New York:

Both Intros 642 and 880 would expand the use of biofuel — a plant-based fuel that can be mixed with petroleum-based products and is responsible for lower greenhouse gas emissions — in home heating oil and city school buses respectively.
Much of the city's vehicle fleet already burns a 5-percent biofuel blend, and buildings that use heating oil are required to use 2 percent biofuel, after initiatives put forth under former mayor Michael Bloomberg. City officials estimated those two measures have already reduced greenhouse gas emissions in New York — the equivalent of taking 30,000 cars off the road.
The two bills heard Monday before the City Council's Environmental Protection Committee would mandate that all buildings still heated by oil must use at least 5 percent biofuel by 2016 and 20 percent biofuel by 2030, and that the city's school buses use ultra low-sulfur diesel with at least 5 percent biodiesel.
The sparks flew when Karen Moreau, head of the New York State Petroleum Council, testified that the biofuel bills would pose a costly alternative to traditional petroleum-based products and would expose consumers to higher fuel prices and more expensive food.
"In imposing mandates, particularly in the energy sector, the government is essentially picking the winners and losers in fuel options," she said.

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