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Robert K. Sweeney
Assembly District 11
Chair, Environmental Conservation Committee
Legislature Adopts Measure by Senator Bill Perkins and Assemblyman Bob Sweeney to Clear the Air
A victory for lower asthma rates and a healthier community
June 18, 2010

We will all breathe easier in a cleaner, healthier community thanks to action by the State Senate and Assembly. Lawmakers in both houses approved a measure sponsored by Senator Perkins (D-30th district) and Assemblyman Robert Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst), Chair of the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee, which will dramatically reduce the sulfur content of home heating oil and the pollution that comes with it.

The legislation, S.1145-C/Perkins, A.8642/Sweeney, sharply reduces the amount of sulfur allowed in home heating oil from over 2,000 parts per million to just 15 parts per million (ppm). This will reduce the air pollution that adversely affects the health of millions of New Yorkers.

“By taking action to clean up the fuel we burn to heat our homes, we are improving the health of our children and our community. New York suffers from asthma rates high above the national average, and children suffer disproportionately from the effects of air pollution. I want to thank Assemblyman Sweeney, my colleagues in the Senate and all those including the distributors of home heating oil who made it possible to pass this legislation and help build a better, healthier future for everyone,” said Senator Bill Perkins.

“Reducing the sulfur content in home heating oil will save homeowners money on their heating bills by reducing heating equipment servicing costs. The use of this cleaner fuel will lead to dramatically improved air quality across New York State. The cleaner air will diminish instances of lung cancer, heart attacks and asthma. This bill is a win for the pocketbook and the environment,” said Assemblyman Sweeney.

New York is the largest consumer of home heating oil, which is similar to diesel fuel used by trucks and other vehicles. Unlike on-road diesel, heating oil contains high levels of sulfur. When it is burned it releases sulfur dioxide, a poisonous gas that can cause asthma attacks, heart disease and premature death. Home heating oil is one of the largest sources of sulfur dioxide in the air, second only to power plants.

“We have always had the technology and the means to remove sulfur from home heating oil. What was missing was the leadership to make it happen. Senator Bill Perkins provided that leadership in the State Senate, and we will all be better off for it,” said Cecil D. Corbin-Mark, Deputy Director, WE Act for Environmental Justice.

“The New York Oil Heating Association has fought hard to establish ultra low sulfur heating oil as the new standard in New York State. Now due to the brave actions of the New York State Legislature, and in particular, Assembly Member Robert Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Senator Bill Perkins and Senate Majority Leader John Sampson, New York will lead the nation in clean heating oil policy. We are highly confident that ultra low sulfur heating oil will remain affordable and widely available, while providing our valued customers with a superior, cleaner, more environmentally friendly fuel. We urge the Governor to sign it into law as soon as possible.” said John Maniscalco, CEO of the New York Oil Heating Association.

Senator Perkins’ and Assemblyman Sweeney’s legislation to improve public health was supported by a broad range of organizations and trade associations including the American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, Empire State Petroleum Association, Inc., Environmental Advocates of New York, Environmental Defense Action Fund, Hudson Valley Oil Heat Council, Natural Resources Defense Council, New York City Mayor's Office, New York Oil Heating Association, Inc., New York League of Conservation Voters, Oil Heat Manufacturers of Central New York, Oil Heat Manufacturers of Eastern New York, Oil Heat Institute of Long Island, Oil Heat Manufacturers Association, Teamsters Joint Council No. 16: International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Teamsters Local Union No. 553, United Puerto Rican Organization of Sunset Park, and WE ACT for Environmental Justice, Andree Petroleum (Ithaca), Bay Shore Oil Terminal (Bay Shore); Bay Terminal of Rockaway (Queens), Bayside Fuel Depot (4 Terminals-Brooklyn); Buhrmaster Energy Group (Scotia); C & R Fuel terminal (Hauppauge), Carbo Industries (Lawrence), College Point Oil Terminal (Queens), General Oil Terminals; General Utilities (5 Terminals – Plainview); Griffigth Energy (Rochester); Hart’s Fuel (W. Sand Lake); Heritage Energy (Kingston), Hometowne Energy (Brockport), IPT Terminal (Albany), Kingston Oil Supply (Saugerties), Main Care Energy (Albany, Chatham, Catskill), Meenan Oil Terminal (Wantagh), METRO Terminals (Brooklyn), Mirabito Energy (7 Terminals – Sydney), Oswego Oil (Hempstead), Romanelli and Sons (Lindenhurst), Schildwachter Terminal (Bronx), SOS Fuels (Tuxedo), New Hyde Park Terminal (New Hyde Park), Northville Industries (Melville), Scott Smith & Son (Oswego), South Fork Terminal (Bridgehampton), Swezey Fuel Terminal (Patchogue), Westmore Fuel Terminal (Port Chester), Valley Oil (Claverack), and Wever Petroleum (Mechanicville).

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