New York — Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has pushed an ambitious green agenda and cast himself as a national environmental leader, routinely runs afoul of his own anti-pollution policy by letting his official SUVs idle, sometimes for more than an hour.
In spot checks over the past week, The Associated Press timed idling periods for the mayor’s city-owned SUVs, which shuttle him around the city or trail him when he takes the subway. The parked vehicles idled at least eight times for periods of 10 minutes to over an hour.
The mayor earlier this year strengthened the city’s anti-idling law — which allows three minutes of idling — into what advocates call the nation’s toughest and promised a public-awareness campaign.
The bill limited idling to one minute in school zones and mandated education for taxi driver applicants.
“Those of us that want to leave a good life for our children, and want to have clean air for us to breathe, and clean water to drink ... it’s incumbent on us to really carry the fight,” he said at the signing.
Bloomberg’s SUVs are exempt from the law because they are considered emergency vehicles, but the city is trying reduce idling, spokesman Stu Loeser said Wednesday.
The SUVs have devices enabling heat and radios to run without the engine. The devices don’t allow the air conditioning to run, but the vehicles are supposed to be parked in the shade when possible, Loeser said. Nearly every time the AP noted the idling vehicles, temperatures were mild and they were parked in the shade.
“We’re doing our best,” Loeser said.