The Council of the City of New York
Office of Costa Constantinides
For Immediate Release
November 10, 2016
Contact: Shachar Sharon
Constantinides to Chair Committee Oversight Hearing on Power Plants
New York City Hall – City Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the Council’s Environmental Protection Committee, will hold a committee oversight hearing on power plants within the city on November 28th. The hearing will investigate the emissions that are produced by city’s biggest power plants, what type of fuel is being burned, and what the public utilities are doing to lower emissions. This is the first time that the Council has held a comprehensive oversight hearing on power plants within the city.
There is currently no known public figure for the amount of carbon emissions that are produced by the city’s power plants.
Three of the city’s power plants are burning Number 6 fuel oil, the dirtiest fuel oil. These three plants produce over 80% of the city’s power. Fuel oil 6 in particular produces significantly more particulate matter and sulfur dioxide than natural gas.
These types of carbon emissions lower air quality, as well as negatively impact public health and environmental health. According to an NYC Department of Health air quality impact study, health effects such as cardiovascular conditions and respiratory issues are attributable to poor air quality. A study by Lehman College found that children living in more polluted areas have a higher rate of hospitalization.
Constantinides said, “It’s time to hold our public utilities accountable for their role in our city’s environmental health. It will take the cooperation of all stakeholders to combat climate change and move closer toward our goal of reducing carbon emissions 80% by 2050. We have implemented many innovative policies in our efforts to combat climate change, including increasing renewable energy sources and encouraging environmentally-friendly commuting methods. These sustainable habits must be supplemented by more efficient fuel production at our power plants. This hearing will help us find ways we can improve our power plants in order to burn cleaner fuel.”
The Environmental Protection Committee will call for testimony from environmental advocacy groups, civic groups, city agencies, and the public utilities.
Most of the city’s power plants are over 40 years old and are equipped with technology that has a lower efficiency and larger air emissions impact than modern plants. This especially affects Constantinides’ 22nd Council District as over 50% of the city’s power comes from plants that are located in Astoria/Long Island City.
The hearing will be held on November 28th at 10:00am in the 16th Floor Committee Room at 250 Broadway, New York, NY 10007. Community organizations and members of the public can sign up to testify in person at the beginning of the hearing.
Council Member Costa Constantinides represents the New York City Council’s 22nd District, which includes his native Astoria along with parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights. He serves as the chair the City Council’s Environmental Protection Committee and sits on six additional committees: Civil Service & Labor, Contracts, Cultural Affairs, Oversight & Investigations, Sanitation, and Transportation. For more information, visit council.nyc.gov/costa.