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NYC Issues PlaNYC Progress Report; Offers Most Sweeping Air Pollution Control Code Update

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In time for New York City’s April 22 Earth Day celebrations, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced two initiatives related to environmental issues—one focusing on sustainability and resiliency efforts and another concerning air pollution.

Photo Courtesy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York Division
Cleaning Up: The Army Corps of Engineers headed up beach restoration work on the Rockaway peninsula last fall.
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The mayor issued a progress report on the city’s PlaNYC guidelines, saying that the Office of Recovery and Resiliency—which he launched last month—will continue the push begun under the Bloomberg Administration for major climate resiliency efforts.

Among the 257 initiatives highlighted in the report, the first protection plan for the city’s 520 miles of coastline shows substantial progress, the city says. This initiative includes beach replenishment work on the Rockaway peninsula, Coney Island and Staten Island—NYC’s hardest-hit coastal regions during Superstorm Sandy in October 2012.

Other areas of progress include building codes, which have been upgraded to protect buildings in the floodplain against floods, wind and prolonged power outages, the city says.

“From the cleanest New York City air in 50 years and a real reduction in greenhouse gases, to major progress on coastal protection, building code upgrades, and other key resiliency measures, we are setting a global example for an urban future,” de Blasio said in a statement.

The full PlaNYC Progress Report is available at the nyc.gov website.

Separately, the mayor proposed what he calls the “most sweeping” changes to the city’s air pollution-control code since 1975. Also under PlaNYC, the proposal seeks to modify emission standards and tackle pollution sources that have little or no emission-control requirements.

The plan targets pollution from sources that contribute to asthma, including commercial char broilers, coal-and wood-fired ovens and fireplaces, food trucks and refrigeration vehicles. Focusing on these localized sources will reduce particulate matter emissions, the city says. The City Council was scheduled to hold a hearing on April 22 on the legislation, Intro 271, which was authored by council member Donovan Richards.

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