Upper East Side Assembly Candidate Vows to Crack Down on Dirty Heating Oil

By Jill Colvin on August 23, 2011 9:38pm 

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer joined Assembly candidate Dan Quart on the Upper East Side Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2011, to discuss ways to encourage building owners to switch away from dirty fuel.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer joined Assembly candidate Dan Quart on the Upper East Side Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2011, to discuss ways to encourage building owners to switch away from dirty fuel.
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DNAinfo/Jill Colvin

UPPER EAST SIDE — State Assembly candidate Dan Quart pledged Tuesday to make cracking down on dirty heating oil a top priority if he wins next month’s special election.

“The people of the East Side of Manhattan deserve better,” said Quart, a Democrat, who is fighting to fill the Upper East Side seat left vacant by Jonathan Bing, who was tapped by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to serve as Special Deputy Superintendent of the New York Liquidation Bureau in June.

The Upper East Side has some of the dirtiest air in the city — a statistic heavily blamed on the area's high concentration of buildings burning No. 6 heating oil.

At a Tuesday press conference, Quart and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who has already endorsed the candidate, called on the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to fund a grant system proposed by Stringer that would help landlords cover the cost of installing new boilers that don’t belch out dirty fuel.

More than 200 boilers in the district are currently burning dirty oil, Stringer said.

“This is a health emergency,” he said.

The city has mandated the gradual phase-out of No. 4 and No. 6 fuel oils, which Stringer says contribute to 3,000 deaths a year. But many worry that landlords will force the cost of upgrading onto their tenants, pushing rents up, despite a loan system introduced by City Hall.

More than 60 percent of the city’s dirty boilers are located in rent-regulated buildings, according to a study released by Stringer’s office in June.

“We need a creative approach to encourage owners of rent-regulated buildings to replace these boilers with cleaner alternatives, and we need elected officials in Albany who are dedicated to the health and welfare of our constituents and their environment,” Stringer said in a statement after the event.

Under his proposal, the cost of conversion, which can run from $5,000 to $200,000, would be covered up to 100 percent using grants funded through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and other grants and tax incentives.

Quart, whose platform also includes a push for smaller class sizes and a restructuring of the MTA, has earned the endorsement of other heavy-hitters, including Rep. Carolyn Maloney and City Councilmembers Dan Garodnick and Jessica Lappin, who beat Quart when he ran for City Council back in 2005.

A lawyer and former member of Community Board 8, Quart is running against Republican challenger Paul Niehaus, who narrowly lost to Bing last November after a heated campaign.

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