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Testimony of Rocco Lacertosa - Regarding Intros. 642 and 880

- 1:19 pm - October 26th, 2015


Good afternoon Mr. Chairman and members of the Environmental Protection Committee. My name is Rocco Lacertosa and I serve as the CEO of New York Oil Heating Association, a 75-year-old trade association whose members, for the most part, are made up of family-owned heating oil distributors and terminal operators located throughout the City of New York. Thank you for the opportunity to testify today.

The New York Oil Heating Association has played a vital and vocal role in advocating for the increased use of Bioheat in New York City and supports the goals of Intro 642 to increase biodiesel blends in all heating oil for New York City buildings and Intro 880, which would set a fuel standard of B5 for school buses.

Bioheat is a blend of renewable biodiesel and home heating oil, and has proven to be among our city's more effective tools to reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality and reduce dependence on foreign oil.

NYOHA and its members enthusiastically supported the 82 heating oil standard put in place in 2012, and have been at the industry forefront of distributing and promoting Bioheat and NYOHA, and have supported state measures to require ultra-low sulfur heating oil and city measures to eliminate number 6 heating oil, as well as phase out and significantly reduce the sulfur levels of number 4 heating oil.

Today, we are proud to say that three years after the 82 fuel standard was implemented, Bioheat has been a great success. Heating oil in New York City is already, by far, the cleanest heating oil sold anywhere in the United States, significantly contributing to the city's 80 by 50 emissions reductions plans.

In addition to improving air quality and encouraging energy independence, Bioheat has enhanced green job creation, and supported local family owned businesses and labor.

Building owners have found that it is not only safe and seamless, but that it actually improves fuel efficiency, helps clean and preserve building equipment, and reduces the need for periodic heating system maintenance. In addition, biodiesel is widely available and currently costs the same or less than traditional heating oil, making it a long-term, cost-efficient option.

Our experience has shown that B5 is working very well in building equipment. However, we feel that it is important to more thoroughly analyze the implementation of higher biofuel blends. Heating oil infrastructure in buildings varies by type and age, and we would want to ensure that compatibility with higher blends could work in a seamless fashion. This takes time and resources. For this reason, we feel that Intro 642 would be best amended to require a B5 fuel standard starting in 2016, and then study the feasibility of going as high as 820 in the near future.

Our goal is to continue to increase the blends as the collective group of stakeholders deems it safe and reliable. NYOHA’s goal is to be at 820 biodiesel and we wish to work with the Council on eventually reaching that goal in sensible and well-monitored steps so as to ensure a smooth transition to this powerful more renewable fuel.

We at NYOHA feel that there is more that we can do to make biodiesel into a standard, everyday part of  New  Yorkers' lives through clean  transportation and that is why we are also supportive of Intro 880, which seeks to set a fuel standard of B5 ultra-low sulfur diesel for all city-owned,  operated or contracted school buses.

Currently, the vast majority of school buses are powered by heavy-duty diesel engines and consume conventional diesel fuel. Numerous school districts across the country have realized the health and environmental benefits of biodiesel blends and made the switch.

I would like to conclude by saying that this an exciting time for the heating oil and biodiesel industry which, like many industries, is seeing the benefits of new developments and investments  that will create a more sustainable, cleaner fuel.

Thank you for your time today.