Senator Bill Perkins Hailed for Building a Healthier Community: His Leadership Means Lower Asthma, Healthier Children, Cleaner Air


For Immediate Release June 18, 2010
Contact:  Cordell Cleare 212-222-7315

Senator Bill Perkins Hailed for Building a Healthier CommunityHis Leadership Means Lower Asthma, Healthier Children, Cleaner Air


We will all breathe easier in a cleaner, healthier community thanks to legislation sponsored by Senator Perkins that will dramatically reduce the deadly pollution that comes from burning home heating oil.

Senator Perkins’ legislation, S.1145-C, approved by the State Senate, sharply reduces the amount of sulfur allowed in home heating oil from over 2,000 parts per million to just 15 parts per million (ppm).   This will reduce the air pollution that adversely affects the health of millions of New Yorkers.

“By taking action to clean up the fuel we burn to heat our homes, we are improving the health of our children and our community.  New York City and our community in particular suffer from asthma rates high above the national average, and children suffer disproportionately from the effects of air pollution.  I want to thank my colleagues in the Senate and all those including the distributors of home heating oil who joined me so we could pass this legislation and help build a better, healthier future for everyone,” said Senator Bill Perkins.

New York is the largest consumer of home heating oil, which is similar to diesel fuel used by trucks and other vehicles.  But unlike on-road diesel, heating oil contains high levels of sulfur.  When it is burned it releases sulfur dioxide, a poisonous gas that can cause asthma attacks, heart disease and premature death.   Home heating oil is one of the largest sources of sulfur dioxide in the air, second only to power plants. 

“We have always had the technology and the means to remove sulfur from home heating oil.  What was missing was the leadership to make it happen.  Senator Bill Perkins provided that leadership, and we will all be better off for it,” said Cecil D. Corbin-Mark, Deputy Director, WE Act for Environmental Justice. 

“I would like to thank Senate Democratic Leader John Sampson and Senator Bill Perkins for their leadership on this bill. I encourage the Assembly, which has already passed a similar bill, to pass an identical measure, and for the Governor to sign it into law,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Senator Perkins’ legislation to improve public health was supported by a broad range of organizations and trade associations including the American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, Empire State Petroleum Association, Inc.,  Environmental Advocates of New York, Environmental Defense Action Fund, Hudson Valley Oil Heat Council, Natural Resources Defense Council, New York City Mayor's Office, New York Oil Heating Association, Inc., New York League of Conservation Voters, Oil Heat Manufacturers of Central New York, Oil Heat Manufacturers of Eastern New York, Oil Heat Institute of Long Island, Oil Heat Manufacturers Association, Teamsters Joint Council No. 16: International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Teamsters Local Union No. 553, United Puerto Rican Organization of Sunset Park, and WE ACT for Environmental Justice.