A proposed edict would crack down on wood and coal stoves and ovens in New York City, forcing eateries serving up iconic wood-fired pizzas to install expensive emission-control devices in their kitchens.
“All New Yorkers deserve to breathe healthy air and wood and coal-fired stoves are among the largest contributors of harmful pollutants in neighborhoods with poor air quality,” the city’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) spokesman, Ted Timbers, said in a statement cited by the New York Post.
The proposed mandate is challenging pizzerias to reduce their emissions by 75%, requiring owners to hire an engineer or architect to assess the feasibility of installing costly emission-control devices in their establishments, the outlet stated. If a reduction of 75% or more cannot be achieved, or if experts determine the establishment cannot install an air filtration device, the DEP will require a reduction of carbon emissions totaling at least 25% or “an explanation for why no emission controls can be installed,” the outlet reported. (RELATED: Cori Bush Says Ban On Gas Stoves Is Actually Just ‘Regulating Indoor Air Pollution’)
“This common-sense rule, developed with restaurant and environmental justice groups, requires a professional review of whether installing emission controls is feasible,” Timbers said of the proposal.
— New York Post (@nypost) June 25, 2023
Paul Giannoni, owner of Paulie Gee’s, reportedly spent $20,000 on the required air filtration system, telling the New York Post that in addition to the hefty price tag to have the system installed, there’s also maintenance costs involved. “I got to pay somebody to do it, to go up there every couple of weeks and hose it down and, you know, do the maintenance,” Giannoni told the outlet.
Another pizza shop owner (who wished to remain anonymous) balked at the proposed mandate, telling the outlet that politicians and bureaucrats need to stay away from their pizza ovens. “This is an unfunded mandate and it’s going to cost us a fortune — not to mention ruining the taste of the pizza — totally destroying the product,” the owner stated.
“If you f—k around with the temperature in the oven, you change the taste. That pipe, that chimney, it’s that size to create the perfect updraft, keeps the temp perfect. It’s an art as much as a science. You take away the char — the thing that makes the pizza taste great — you kill it,” he argued, adding that eight or nine pizza ovens aren’t going to destroy the environment.
His sentiments were echoed by Saavi Sharma, a financier who brought her family from India into a local pizza shop for their first slice. “I’m all for responsible environmental practice but tell Al Gore to take one less private jet or something. Give me a break!” Sharma exclaimed over the mandate.
Giannoni, however, says since installing his air filtration device it hasn’t changed the taste or quality of his pizza, despite concerns from his fellow pizza shop owners.
In the event a restaurant can’t install or afford to install the costly air-filtration system, an owner can apply for a waiver, but hardship must be proved in order for the waiver to be approved, the outlet stated.