Climate Change /

NYC Aims to Crack Down On Pizza Ovens to Reduce Carbon Emissions

One pizzeria owner spent $20,000 on an air filter to comply with the rule change

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is preparing to roll out new rules that would force pizzerias to cut carbon emissions by 75 percent.

“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,” DEP spokesman Ted Timbers said in a statement to the New York Post on Sunday. “This common-sense rule, developed with restaurant and environmental justice groups, requires a professional review of whether installing emission controls is feasible.”

The new rules would require restaurants using coal and wood-fired ovens to hire an engineer or architect to assess the feasibility of installing some type of emission control device that would cut carbon emissions by 75 percent, the Post reported.

If a 75 percent cut is not possible, businesses may identify controls that could provide a 25 percent reduction, or explain to city officials why emissions controls cannot be installed.

Many are objecting to the proposal from city officials.

“If you f—k around with the temperature in the oven you change the taste,” one pizza restaurant owner told the Post. “That pipe, that chimney, it’s that size to create the perfect updraft, keeps the temp perfect, it’s an art as much as a science. You take away the char, the thing that makes the pizza taste great, you kill it.”

“You don’t mess with a New Yorker’s Pizza or Bagels. Period,” Bruce Blakeman, Nassau County Executive, wrote in a Twitter post. “Here in Nassau your local pizza place will continue to be able to make your pie the same way they have been for decades. We have some of the best pizza in the world, and it’s going to stay that way!”

One pizzaria owner says he has already spent $20,000 on an air filtration system in anticipation of needing to comply with the new law.

“Oh yeah, it’s a big expense!” Paul Giannone, the owner of Paulie Gee’s in Greenpoint, told the Post. “It’s not just the expense of having it installed, it’s the maintenance. I got to pay somebody to do it, to go up there every couple of weeks and hose it down and you know do the maintenance.”

The DEP is holding a public hearing on July 27 over the proposed rule.

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