Guest Op-Ed: Protecting Brooklyn jobs and improving our environment


Many would be surprised to learn that the oil used to cook French fries can be turned into a safer fuel that can supply diesel vehicles. By early next year, I expect to open New York City’s first large scale biodiesel fuel production facility in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. This new facility will produce a cleaner and safer domestic fuel, while also protecting over 125 jobs.

The company that owned this facility on Newtown Creek went bankrupt, and I acquired it last year. It was important to save these jobs and continue with plans to produce biodiesel fuel, which cuts emissions of harmful pollutants and also reduces our dependence on foreign oil.

In addition, as Richard Mazur, executive director of the North Brooklyn Development Corporation recently publicly stated, “This facility is essentially taking industrial wasteland and turning it into a productive use of the land.”

Biodiesel is already being used by our New York City Parks Department to power its diesel-operated vehicles and equipment, and is also being used by the Departments of Sanitation and Transportation.

Biodiesel recycles used vegetable oils and fats that are less toxic to our environment. Compared to petrodiesel, biodiesel contains less sulfur dioxide (a cause of acid rain), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (a pollutant that is linked to cancer), unburned hydrocarbons (a cause of smog that damages the lungs and aggravates respiratory problems), and carbon monoxide (a poisonous, colorless, odorless gas that causes smog).

Our reliance on foreign oil has been a serious issue for the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, we import almost 60 percent of our oil, and this is expected to increase to 75 percent by 2025.

More domestic production of biodiesel, which does not increase expenses for vehicle operators, will reduce our reliance on oil from the Middle East and other foreign countries.

I am looking forward to opening a state-of-the-art facility in Brooklyn that produces a safe, affordable, and American-made alternative to foreign petroleum, while also protecting local jobs.

John Catsimatidis is a successful businessman and former Republican candidate for mayor.

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