February 21, 2024

Pizza is at the center of a new environmental controversy

Controversy of the Time in the United States: Pizza and Ovens. The New York City Department of Environmental Protection is drafting a rule that would require restaurants with wood ovens installed before 2016 to reduce their carbon emissions by up to 75%.

Pizza ovens at the center of environmental controversy in New York City | Daniel Boczzarski/Getty Images North America/AFP/Met Sol

New rules being drafted would require these restaurants to evaluate the practicality of installing an emissions control device to reduce emissions by 75%, according to the New York Post.

The report says that if a 75% reduction is not possible or a control cannot be installed, the restaurant must reduce emissions by at least 25% or provide an explanation as to why the controls cannot be installed. A city official said fewer than 100 restaurants in New York City would be affected by the proposed rule.

The new rule will apply to restaurants where a brick or wood oven was installed prior to 2016, as a law passed in 2015 and enacted a year later required newly installed ovens to meet emissions standards. An advisory board, which included restaurants with these types of ovens, helped propose new rules for those not affected by the 2015 law.

“All New Yorkers deserve to breathe healthy air, and wood and charcoal stoves are among the largest contributors of harmful pollutants in neighborhoods with poor air quality,” Ted Timbers, a spokesman for the Department of Environmental Protection, Washington Examiner, said in a statement.

“This rule of thumb, developed with restaurant and environmental sanitation groups, requires a professional review of whether or not installing emissions controls is feasible,” Timbers added.

The proposed rules were supposed to be released in 2020 but have been delayed. The proposed emissions rules are in the public comment period and have not been enacted, according to an official with the city’s environmental protection department.

New York City has credited the city’s overall improvement in air quality in recent decades to reduced emissions from local and regional sources. The proposed new rule would be to expand the stricter emissions standards.