Restaurant owners concerned about Hochul’s climate plan

Food & Drinks /

There are discussions of exempting restaurants from the aggressive climate proposal.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Peter Eid has been flipping pizzas in downtown Buffalo for the past seven years, but the news of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s new climate action plan has him fearing his time may be running out 

“My restaurant here is just the oven. It’s just the gas oven, so it’d be catastrophic for us,” the owner of Hearth + Press said. 

Even though the governor’s new proposal isn’t fully worked out, a big concern for Hearth + Press and other restaurants is that they would have to get rid of all fossil fuel hookups that power appliances, such as gas stoves and wood-fired ovens over the next decade. 

For most restaurants, that would mean added challenges. 

But for Eid’s business, it could mean their last pizza has been served. 

“They’d be getting rid of a restaurant in downtown Buffalo,” he said. 

It’s a fear not just shared at Hearth + Press but with the entire industry. According to experts, the change could force restaurants to pay twice as much for equipment and change everything, from the taste, to the cost, to the amount of time needed to prepare a meal. 

“Right now, between inflation and supply chain issues and just the stress of dealing with everything that’s taken place in the last three years, they just can’t talk about one more thing,” said Melissa Fleischut, the president and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association. 

They might not have to. The governor’s office has said they are considering exempting restaurants from these changes, leaving those in the industry begging Hochul to see it from their side of the counter. 

“Could you please understand our concerns and work with us and see that this is really important to the restaurant industry right now,” Fleischut said. 

Eid added: “We just want to be left alone, and we just want to be able to work and keep our businesses going, keep the city alive.”

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