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New NYC rules would force wood-fired pizzerias to cut emissions 75%

Jun 26, 2023

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New York City is facing a debate over the use of coal and wood-fired ovens in historic pizzerias. The city has put forth new regulations that would require pizza parlors to reduce carbon emissions by up to 75%. However, the proposed mandate has sparked concerns among pizzeria owners who argue that it could affect the iconic charred taste associated with their pizzas.

Under the proposed rules, drafted by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), restaurants utilizing coal or wood-fired ovens would be required to hire an engineer or architect to assess the feasibility of installing “emission-control devices” inside their chimneys. City officials argue that regulating emissions from coal-fired stoves is necessary to promote a healthier environment.

“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 Sunday, June 25. “This common-sense rule, developed with restaurant and environmental justice groups, requires a professional review of whether installing emission controls is feasible.”

If implemented, the mandate would impact less than 100 restaurants in the city. According to pizzeria owners, these devices can cost up to $20,000 to install and pose challenges in terms of maintenance and cleanliness. Pizzeria owners and New York City officials who spoke with the New York Post expressed concerns about the potential impact on local businesses.

“It’s a big expense,” Paul Giannone, the owner of Paulie Gee’s in Greenpoint, told the New York 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.”

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