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New York City turns up the heat on wood and coal-fired pizzerias, demands restaurants slice emissions by 75%
Mark Peterson/Corbis via Getty Images

New York City turns up the heat on wood and coal-fired pizzerias, demands restaurants slice emissions by 75%

New York City pizza is the latest thing the government is going after in the name of climate change. New York City will reportedly turn up the heat on pizzerias with wood and coal-fired ovens to attempt to cut down on pollution.

The New York Post reported on Sunday that the New York City Department of Environmental Protection has drafted new rules to force restaurants with wood and coal-fired ovens to cut their emissions.

The new rule could require pizzerias with wood and coal-fired ovens installed before May 2016 to purchase and install emission-control devices. The restaurants would reportedly need to rise to the challenge by hiring an engineer or architect to evaluate the potential of integrating emission control mechanisms with the goal of reducing particulate emissions by 75%.

If the report determines that it is impossible to achieve a reduction of 75% or more, or install any emission controls, it must identify any possible emission controls that could offer at least a 25% reduction, or provide an explanation as to why such controls cannot be installed.

The restaurant will purportedly be allowed to apply for a variance or waiver, but will be required to provide evidence demonstrating the hardship this mandate causes.

Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Ted Timbers said in a statement Sunday, "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. This common-sense rule, developed with restaurant and environmental justice groups, requires a professional review of whether installing emission controls is feasible."

A city official told the Post that under 100 restaurants would be affected by the new rules.

The new rules will likely affect some of the oldest and most iconic pizzerias in New York City, including Totonno's, Grimaldi's, Lombardi's, Patsy's, Paulie Gee’s, and John's of Bleecker Street.

An anonymous pizza restaurant owner with a coal-fired oven told the New York Post, "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."

"If you f*** around with the temperature in the oven you change the taste," the owner lashed out. "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."

The restaurateur said, "And for what? You really think that you’re changing the environment with these eight or nine pizza ovens?!"

Paul Giannoni, the owner of Paulie Gee’s in Greenpoint, has already installed a $20,000 air filtration system in preparation for the rule change.

Giannoni stated, "Oh yeah, it’s a big expense! It's not just the expense of having it installed, it's the maintenance. 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 noted that his neighbors appreciate that the oven is emitting less smoke. He added that the scrubber did not change the taste of the pizza.

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