Plumes of black smoke rippling from rooftops are a common sight along the city’s skyline — and have long unsettled public health experts.
The city has called for replacing the heavy heating oils used in buildings that are mostly responsible for the toxic dark smoke with substantially cleaner fuels by 2030.
And while there are a handful of alternatives for building owners to choose from, policymakers expect that natural gas will be among the most attractive options because of its low cost and decreased emissions.
The city, in turn, has pushed to expand the capacity of infrastructure to handle natural gas through the construction of the first new pipelines in decades that will carry enough of the cleaner fossil fuel to power millions of buildings and households. But the construction of the pipelines has stoked the passions of residents along the paths where they will be built; environmentalists concerned about the impact of construction on delicate ecosystems; and opponents of hydraulic fracturing.