New York Mayor de Blasio seeks to end the use of oil and gas in large buildings
Energize Weekly, February 12, 2020
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is taking aim at fossil fuels seeking to end the use of natural gas and oil in large buildings and banning the development of oil and gas infrastructure in the city.
Other initiatives include switching the municipal feet to electric vehicles and increasing rooftop solar in the city.
The plans were laid out in de Blasio’s State of the City speech, Feb. 6, and in executive orders he issued the same day.
“It is difficult to wrap your mind around a world without oil and gas,” de Blasio said in the speech. “We’ve all grown up with it. But brothers and sisters, if we don’t get away from oil and gas, there won’t be a world for our children and grandchildren.”
The mayor said he would work with the City Council to develop a ban ending the use of oil and gas in New York’s largest building and replacing them with electricity – over the next 20 years – starting with government buildings.
The requirements would be patterned after the retrofit law passed by the City Council in in April 2019 mandating that buildings 25,000 square feet or more reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050.
In an executive order, de Blasio said that the city “will not support the addition of infrastructure within its energy shed that expands the supply of fossil fuels via pipelines or terminals for the transfer of fossil fuels or via the construction of new fossil-fuel-based electric generation capacity.”
The mayor ordered his Office of Sustainability to conduct a comprehensive review and identify changes to the process of approving new fossil fuel infrastructure or expanding existing infrastructure.
In a second executive order, de Blasio called for all municipal vehicles be plug-in electric by 2040 and that by 2025 that 4,000 vehicles – including every ambulance, police cruiser, garbage truck and ferry – be fully electric. The city’s first electric school buses go into service this year.
The city will also launch a program to defray the upfront costs on rooftop solar for one-to-four family homes, allowing homeowners to repay those costs over the years from savings on their energy bills.
“This city has been taking step after step aggressively to protect us against climate change, to do our share,” de Blasio said in his State of the City speech. “Cities all around the country are doing the same. But you know what? Again, it is not enough. We now have to devote ourselves to something much more difficult. We have to be ready to commit ourselves to strand those fossil fuels in the earth, in the ground once and forever where they belong. They will only endanger us and our future.”