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It’s ethnic discrimination to force NYC pizzerias, matzah-makers to comply with ‘green’ edict: new bill

Eric Adams speaking into a microphone with a pizza nearby
Eric Adams speaking into a microphone with a pizza nearby

It’s ethnic discrimination to force Big Apple pizzerias and matzah-makers to cut the smoky pollutants from their wood- and coal-fired ovens, according to a new bill sponsored by a state lawmaker.

Assemblyman Sam Pirozzolo (R-Staten Island) told the Post that his proposed law would exempt businesses — some of them legendary local establishments — from a controversial city green edict that orders them to reduce such emissions by 75%.

“I’m trying to stop discrimination against ethnic restaurants. These misguided laws go against businesses that cook ethnic cuisine,” Pirozzolo said.

A NYC bill aims to force Big Apple pizzerias and matzah-makers to cut the smoky pollutants from their wood- and coal-fired ovens. Gregory P. Mango
A NYC bill aims to force Big Apple pizzerias and matzah-makers to cut the smoky pollutants from their wood- and coal-fired ovens. Gregory P. Mango

“A cop just got killed. People are getting thrown in front of subway trains. We have people dying from overdoses and a migrant crisis we didn’t ask for,” said the state lawmaker, first elected in 2022.

“But we’re going after wood-burning pizza? It’s misguided. Let’s get our priorities straight.”

The city just buried married 31-year-old dad and hero cop Jonathan Diller on Saturday after he was shot during a traffic stop, is reeling from a fatal random subway shove last week and drowning in aslyum-seekers needing services.

Pirozzolo’s “Preserving Our Culinary Traditions Act” would specifically waive the burning of wood, coal, natural gas, propane or other fuels for the purposes of cooking or preparing food from any pollution restrictions.

The city Department of Environmental Protection’s new rule, which takes effect April 27 requires existing coal- and wood-fire eateries to install costly air filtration systems that dramatically slash the emissions coming from their traditional ovens.

Assemblyman Sam Pirozzolo said that wood-fire oven restrictions target ethnic restaurants. Paul Martinka
Assemblyman Sam Pirozzolo said that wood-fire oven restrictions target ethnic restaurants. Paul Martinka

The DEP said the new rule enforces a law approved in 2015 by the City Council and then-Mayor Bill de Blasio requiring such pollutant-spewing businesses to dramatically curb their unhealthy emission of particulate matter, which is known to cause asthma and other respiratory ills.

About 130 Big Apple businesses will be affected by the new rule, which is backed by Mayor Eric Adams.

Some eateries have already coughed up tens of thousands for systems to meet the requirement.

But Pirozzolo said the rules are ridiculously anti-business, amount to a war on traditional-cooking methods in wood- and coal-fired ovens and do little to curb real pollution.

In his memo explaining the bill, Pirozzolo noted that Gov. Kathy Hochul’s controversial move to ban gas stoves, furnaces and propane heating in new residential buildings in the Empire State carved out an exemption for restaurants that use them.

About 130 Big Apple businesses will be affected by the new rule, which is backed by Mayor Eric Adams. Matthew McDermott
About 130 Big Apple businesses will be affected by the new rule, which is backed by Mayor Eric Adams. Matthew McDermott

“In keeping with the rich culinary tradition of New York City’s residents and in-state residents hailing from far and wide, it is perfectly reasonable to exempt the use of said appliances to allow eateries to continue adhering to proper cooking protocols to preserve the rich flavors, textures, and aromas of these dishes’ far-flung homelands— not to mention shielding business owners from having to shoulder the costs of
updating at least some of their equipment just to comply with mandates, with costs coming out of their own pockets,” Pirozzolo said in a memo explaining his bill.

The assemblyman said he expects the measure to also be introduced in the state Senate. He is circulating a draft of the bill to other legislators to garner support.

Another lawmaker, Brooklyn city Councilman Justin Brannan, is eyeing tax breaks to help pizzerias pay for the filtration equipment needed to comply with the new mandate. Such equipment can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Pirozzolo, an optician who previously served as president of the island’s community education council, made headlines in 2016 when an enormous Donald Trump sculpture on his front lawn was torched.

He flipped a long-held Democratic seat into the GOP column and is up for re-election in November.