Pizzerias feel the heat as NYC targets coal- and wood-fired ovens

Paulie Gee's in Greenpoint Brooklyn prides itself on its wood-burning oven. But ovens like it are under fire from the NYC Department of Environmental Protection as the agency wants pizzeria owners to drastically cut their carbon emissions by 75%.

Paul "Paulie Gee" Giannone calls it a tough order, saying "They're painting is this is going to save the world."

In a statement to Fox 5, the NYC DEP says:

"All New Yorkers deserve to breathe healthy air, and wood and coal-fired stoves are among the largest contributors of harmful pollutants in neighborhoods with poor air quality.  This common-sense rule, developed with restaurant and environmental justice groups, requires a professional review of whether installing emission controls is feasible." 

The new rule would apply to pizzerias with coal- and wood-fired ovens that were installed prior to 2016, roughly 100 or so establishments according to the DEP.

Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, explains that "a business will hire an engineer or an architect that will look at their current system to see if it's feasible to reduce the polluting matter to a certain percentage. And if it's not, then they have another option to install, perhaps another type of system to reduce some of the pollutants."

That's what Giannone did by installing an air filter system.  He says it wasn't cheap, but at least he's in compliance.  

City officials say a waiver will be given to any business where installing an emissions-control device isn't feasible. 

A public hearing will be held next month. 

Any new rule would not become effective until later in the summer.