Climate Change Kooks Are Coming After Wood and Coal-Fired Pizza Now

Did you think that they would only stop at gas-powered stoves?

New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has developed new regulations requiring pizzerias using traditional baking methods like wood- and coal-fired stoves to reduce their carbon emissions up to 75%.

Ted Timbers, a DEP spokesperson, said that “All New Yorkers should be able to breathe clean air. Wood and coal-fired appliances are the biggest contributors of pollutants in areas with poor air quality.” This common-sense regulation, developed in collaboration with environmental justice and restaurant groups, calls for a professional assessment of whether emission controls are feasible.

According to the proposed rule any pizzeria that installed a wood- or coal-fired oven before May 2016 will be required to purchase expensive emission control devices. According to a city official, the proposed rule would only affect 100 restaurants.

Paul Giannoni of Paulie Gee’s told the New York Post he has already invested $20,000 into an air filter system. He also highlighted the ongoing costs of maintaining the system, in addition to the installation costs. He told the newspaper that he had to pay someone to clean the system every two weeks.

Unidentified owner of a pizza shop expressed his strong opposition to this proposed mandate. He also blasted politicians for interfering with their pizza ovens. He said, “This is a mandate that’s not funded and will cost us a fortune. Not to mention ruining taste of the pizza – totally destroying product.” If you mess around with the oven temperature, you will change the taste. This pipe, this chimney, is the right size to create a perfect updraft and keep the temperature perfect. It’s as much an art as it is a science. “You kill the pizza if you take out the char, the flavoring agent that gives it its great taste.”

The DEP insists on a committee of restaurateurs drafting the proposed rule.

The advisory committee and DEP could not finalize a regulation in this timeframe due to the difficulty in crafting a standard to address the technical and financial concerns associated with the installation of emission-control devices, explained DEP officials.

The officials stated that “costs for controls on existing cook stoves are difficult to manage because the structures in which they operate are often old and not designed to accommodate emissions control devices.” The officials said that many locations where cook stoves were used did not belong to the users of the stoves. Therefore, any changes needed for the installation of such devices would require the permission of the landlord.

If the mandate is passed, restaurants that use wood or coal-fired stoves will be required to hire an architect or engineer to assess the viability and feasibility of installing emission control systems with the goal of achieving a 75% reduction in particulate pollution. If this is not possible, alternative measures must be taken to reduce emissions at least by 25%.

Restaurants can request a waiver or variance, but must show compelling evidence that a hardship has occurred to qualify for an exception.