The City Council is inviting the public to testify at a committee oversight hearing on power plants Monday. Nov. 28.
For the first time, the Council’s Environmental Protection Committee will investigate the emissions that are produced by the city’s power plants, 70 percent of which are in Astoria and Long Island City which have the highest particulate rates in the borough, according to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
These types of carbon emissions lower air quality as well as negatively impacting public health and environmental health. According to the NYC Department of Health air quality impact study, health effects such as cardiovascular conditions and respiratory issues are attributable to poor air quality. Children living in more polluted areas have a higher rate of hospitalization, a Lehman College study found.
“It’s time to hold our public utilities accountable for their role in our city’s environmental health,” said City Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria), the chairman of the committee.
Although there are no figures available on the city’s carbon emissions, three of the city’s power plants that produce 80 percent of New York’s power are burning No. 6 fuel oil. It is the dirtiest type of fuel oil, producing significantly more particulate matter and sulfur dioxide than natural gas.
Most of the power plants are over 40 years old and are equipped with technology that has a lower efficiency rating and larger air emissions impact than modern plants.
“It will take the cooperation of all stakeholders to combat climate change and move closer toward our goal of reducing carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050,” Constantinides said. “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.”
The hearing was scheduled for Nov. 28 at 10 p.m. in the 16th Floor Committee Room at 250 Broadway in Manhattan. Community organizations and members of the public can sign up to testify at the beginning of the hearing. Environmental advocates, city agencies and the public utilities will also testify.
“This hearing will help us find ways we can improve our power plants in order to burn cleaner fuel,” Constantinides said.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr