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WNY restaurant owners share their concerns about Hochul’s climate plan

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 agenda for reduction of emissions has him fearing his time may be running out under the plan from the state's Climate Action Council.  

“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 proposal from the governor and her staff isn’t fully worked out, a big concern for Hearth + Press and other restaurants is that come 2030 they might have to  replace some of their appliances when they wear out with electric devices which do not use fossil fuels like natural gas. 

While the Governor denies that cooking fuel sources would be affected, many fear that eventually gas stoves could be on the banned list as well.  

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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