From the Daily News:
Mayor Bloomberg's environmental team wants to stop big apartment and office buildings from belching smoke into New York skies - but landlords say that will mean higher rents.
In the next few months, the city plans to introduce a regulation to phase out No. 4 and No. 6 heating oil, the cheapest - and dirtiest - type of fuel oil.
The proposed rule would force new buildings to use cleaner No. 2 heating oil or natural gas, and eliminate old boilers over 15 years.
Building owners and apartment managers don't dispute the environmental benefits of cleaner oil, but say New Yorkers can't afford the cost - up to $150,000 to change a building's boilers, plus up to 30% more a gallon.
Environmental groups say switching over will cost most building owners far less, and often pays for itself through more efficient combustion and lower maintenance costs.
"It's just unrefined sludge - the bottom of the barrel," said Mary Barber of the Environmental Defense Fund.
The EDF used city permit data to map the almost 9,000 buildings that use No. 4 or No. 6 oil on its Web site - including famous ones like the Flatiron Building and the Dakota apartments.
Those buildings generate 87% of the city's heating soot, the EDF says - and converting a 200-unit apartment building to natural gas would have the same pollution benefits as taking 45 delivery trucks off the street.
City officials have met with real estate and oil industry groups to try to find a middle ground.