It was previously reported that Mayor de Blasio is coming for New Yorkers' precious fireplaces, but now it's also become apparent that the City Council, with the full support of the mayor, is setting their sights on the scourge known as coal fired ovens and, by extension, the delicious pizzas made within them. The Brooklyn Paper took a look at the buried lede from the Earth Day legislation regarding air pollution, pulling out language that would require the city's coal oven operators to install air filters to cut down the emissions from oven exhaust.

The legislation, proposed by Queens Councilman Donovan Richards and the Committee on Environmental Protection, would compel coal oven establishments to purchase costly air filtration systems for their restaurants. An executive for one oven manufacturer told Brooklyn Paper that $10,000 was the minimum to install the filtration gear that would meet the city's requirements.

Grimaldi's manager Gina Peluso claims the city's "big numbers game" is behind the move, explaining that coal ovens like the one in use at the pizzeria don't even emit much pollution. "There’s worse pollution if you just stand under the Brooklyn Bridge," she quipped. New York Hospitality Alliance counsel Rob Bookman agrees; "These are minor polluters," he told the Paper. "Why not do it over time and phase out the old stuff?" The legislation doesn't provide any grandfather clause for longtime operators, meaning spots like Hurricane Sandy-ravaged Totonno's on Coney Island would be forced to foot the bill. "We've been here 90 years," said co-owner Louise Ciminieri. "We didn't kill anybody yet."

Matt Grogan, a partner at coal oven pizzeria Juliana's in Brooklyn, says he wasn't surprised by the legislation and tells us that it many ways it was a "long time coming." Still, he dubs the proposed regulation "onerous," explaining that it "could be interpreted as a selective tax on a certain kind of restaurant that use this kind of equipment to prepare their food." The pizzeria uses so-called "clean coal," an anthracite coal that burns more cleanly than traditional bituminous or "black coal." "Nevertheless, there's always something that comes out when it's used," explains Grogan. "But it's much less environmentally detrimental than anything else, including wood, oil or any other fossil diesels."

The pizzeria will comply with whatever the end result of the bill will be but Grogan hopes that the only outcome of the legislation is financial. "I just hope that it doesn't affect the taste or the fundamental operation of the coal oven—and until I see what kind of equipment it is and how it's going to be installed and maintained—it's going to be really hard for me to know," he mused. "I'd hate for all the coal oven pizzerias to suddenly have the taste that's become a favorite over generations and generations to be changed. That would be a shame. "