By SHANT SHAHRIGIAN
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
From New York City’s version of the Green New Deal to solar panel installations, Councilman Costa Constantinides has championed numerous environmentalist causes during his nearly seven years so far in office.
The Democrat, who’s running for Queens borough president, has also taken $5,000 in campaign contributions from the Oil Heat PAC, which advocates for NYC’s heating oil companies, plus thousands of dollars from employees of those businesses.
After the Daily News inquired about the fundraising, Constantinides said he would get rid of as much of the cash as possible under campaign finance laws.
“We’re giving the money back because this was never about the money,” he said.
Constantinides also contended that the Oil Heat PAC, backed by the New York Oil Heating Association (NYOHA), is actually one of the good guys in the fight against fossil fuel emissions.
He pointed to the 2016 battle over his bill to mandate greater use of biodiesels — which are made of food and plant products and viewed by some as environmentally friendly — in home heating oil. Big oil interests like the American Petroleum Institute fought against the legislation, which was aimed at reducing carbon emissions, while NYOHA joined environmentalists in embracing it.
“We took those campaign donations because these guys were fighting against big oil,” Constantinides said of cash from NYOHA, which first donated to his campaign in 2015, according to city filings.