WBNG Action News (Binghamton): Pumped Over Heating Regulations

(June 18, 2010)

(WBNG Binghamton) Requiring less sulfur in home heating oils fuels support from health officials and energy companies.

But some lawmakers are steamed, saying it would result in higher bills.

Action News Reporter Leigh Dana explains.

"This is important enough for me to make a point," shouted State Senator Tom Libous.

A video on youtube of State Senator Tom Libous pumped up over a proposal coming from downstate Democrats.

The bill would require manufacturers to reduce the amount of sulfur in some types of heating oil.

The American Lung Association is pushing for passage because of sulfur-laden heating oil affects ozone levels, triggering asthma and allergy reactions.

It says more than 12 million New Yorkers already live in counties where air pollution levels endanger lives, it's clear that we must take swift action to protect residents' lung health.

The bill would apply to the heating oil commonly used by upstate homeowners.

But not the heating oil commonly used in New York City.

"If it's a problem in the city of New York and Long Island, than make the bill pertain to the City of New York and Long Island. But no, we're going to make it state wide. And then what do you do, you impose restrictions. People will not get home heating fuel. I'm telling you," screamed Libous.

Libous and other state senate republicans believe there will be a spike in heating costs.

But local energy companies like Mirabito, say it will protect the environment while increasing efficiency.

"When you look at the area in Vestal where the storage terminals are, there are so many different fuels that have to be handled. Sometimes, there are supply issues, but by having one product it meets transportation needs, heating needs to construction needs," said Mirabito CEO, Joe Mirabito.

If enacted, the bill would eliminate as much sulfur in the air as closing down two and a half coal fired power plants in New York.

Leigh Dana WBNG TV Action News.

If the bill passes, it would go into effect July 2012.

Senate Republicans have offered an amendment to the bill which would give companies an additional two extra years to comply with the regulations.