06.13 Approved Minutes









TUESDAY, JUNE 13, 2006, 9:30 A.M.






*The Thursday, June 15, 2006, 10:00 a.m. Regular Meeting was rescheduled to a Special Meeting on Tuesday, June 13, 2006 at 9:30 a.m.


TASK FORCE MEMBERS:  VOTING:  Eric Bowen (Chair), Adam Hagen (Vice-Chair), Melissa Hardy, Benjamin Jordan, Karri Ving. NON-VOTING: David Augustine (Treasurer/Tax Collector), Richard Berman (Port), Sarah Dennis (Planning Department), Kevin Drew (Department of the Environment), Mike Ferry (Fire Department), Tom Franza (SFPUC), Laurence Kornfield (DBI), Marty Mellera (MTA).








The meeting was called to order at 9:40 a.m.  Present: Members Bowen, Hagen, Hardy (10:15), Jordan, Ving, Augustine, Dennis (10:10), Drew (10:00), Ferry (9:45), Franza, and Mellera; Absent:  Members Berman and Kornfield.  Vacant:  Members representing the Department of Public Health and Mayor’s Office of Workforce and Economic Development. 


2.      ACTION:  Approval of the May 18, 2006 Special Meeting Draft Minutes (as corrected).  Upon Motion by Vice-Chair Hagen and second by Chair Bowen, the May 18, 2006 Special Meeting Minutes were approved with no objection (Absent:  Member Hardy) (Explanatory Document:  May 18, 2006 Approved Minutes).


Item 5 was heard before Item 3.


3.      INFORMATIONAL PRESENTATION:  Introduction to Biodiesel.

SPEAKER:  Randall von Wedel, Ph.D., Principal Biochemist, BioSolar


Mr. Von Wedel gave an informational presentation on the benefits of biodiesel, emission reductions, and experience in San Francisco. 


Topics discussed included the impact of diesel exhaust, biodiesel history, properties, origin, feedstock, environmental benefits, production process, positive health effects, emission studies, San Francisco Department B20 fleets and other City biodiesel projects, regulatory status, pricing, and Mayor’s Executive Order for B20 Mandate.  For additional information on topics discussed, click on the link above.   


Mr. von Wedel stated that the goal of the Task Force should be to encourage use of biodiesel, to make it a mandate to use quality biodiesel that meets ASTM requirements, to determine the appropriate regulations, and identify suitable locations.  It was recommended that storage, transport and handling of biodiesel be handled the same way as diesel.  An updated presentation that would include Task Force comments will be posted on the Biodiesel Access Task Force website.


Public Comment:  Mr. Jeff Besinger discussed (1) an article in the San Francisco Chronicle on ethanol production and the need for more fueling stations, (2) alternative fuel options and market forces, and (3) support of requiring all fuel stations to carry non-petroleum fuel sources.   


4.      INFORMATION:  Biodiesel Website update. The Task Force Secretary presented an informational report on the Biodiesel Access Task Force website and indicated that the Task Force Bylaws, a description of the Task Force, and all agendas and minutes can be found on the site.  Vice-Chair Hagen requested that the Biodiesel presentation be added to the website.  Chair Bowen requested that an audio of the Biodiesel presentation be added to the website if technically possible.


5.      DISCUSSION:  Tax incentives for gas station owners.  [Speakers: David Augustine, Adam Hagen and Eric Bowen]. 


Member Augustine, Policy and Legislative Manager, Treasurer’s Office presented an overview of the payroll expense tax system in San Francisco assessed at 1.5% for businesses and discussed exclusions for (1) small businesses with less than $166,000 in payroll, and (2) biotechnology and enterprise zone businesses and the certification process.


A discussion was held on the process for establishing new tax exclusions and the advantages of rebates and subsidies over tax exclusions.  Vice-Chair Hagen reported that the idea would be to establish tax incentives for gas station retail outlets to help offset switching costs from their current diesel tank to biodiesel or to add a new tank.  Member Augustine reported that the majority of gas stations paid approximately $2,000 to $3,000 a year in payroll taxes and is owned by corporate entities.  It was reported that the Department of the Environment would be the regulating body responsible for certifying the businesses for tax incentives.


Chair Bowen discussed the 30 percent federal tax credit for capital expenditures to transition to alternative fuel and the potential of local incentives to further lower that cost.  A discussion was held on the possibility of establishing a time cap for offering the tax incentive and whether to move forward with a tax exclusion or rebate.  Vice-Chair Hagen recommended a cap on the number of stations that would qualify for tax incentives versus establishing a timeframe.  


Member Augustine agreed to provide additional information on what the total fiscal impact would be to the City and the ownership profile of gas stations.  Next steps discussed would be for the Task Force to establish consensus on the process before forwarding a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors.  This item was continued the August 17, 2006 meeting for further discussion and action.


5.      DISCUSSION:  Identify agencies that would provide input into a presentation on hypothetical permitting of a B100 station today. [Speaker: Ben Jordan]


Member Jordan distributed a “Biodiesel Dispensing and Storage Site Permitting Summary” that identified six different scenarios for dispensing and storage of biodiesel in blended and pure form in San Francisco.   A discussion was held on next steps to identify appropriate regulations and agencies that would govern the activities under each of the scenarios.  Members Dennis and Jordan agreed to research the permitting process that regular stations and other agencies follow and report back at the July 20, 2006 meeting.  Vice-Chair Hagen would contact the Gasoline Dealers Association and research their existing standards.  


7.      INFORMATION:  New Business.  There was no new business discussed at this time.


8.      DISCUSSION:  Future Agenda Items.  July 20, 2006 meeting--Chair Bowen recommended (1) a video presentation from Mr. Rob Elam, Propel Fuels, on the mechanics and economics of converting an existing diesel tank and pump at an existing gas station to biodiesel; (2) report on the permitting process by regular stations and agencies (Members Dennis and Jordan); and (3) discussion on fuel ownership by distributors (Member Ving).  August 17, 2006 meeting: tax incentives for gas station owners: report on fiscal impact to the City and gas station ownership profile (Member Augustine). 


9.      PUBLIC COMMENTS:  Members of the public may address the Task Force on matters that are within the Task Force’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda.  There was no public comment at this time.


10.  ADJOURNMENT.  The meeting of the Biodiesel Access Task Force adjourned at 11:35 a.m.


** Copies of explanatory documents are available at (1) the Task Force office, 11 Grove Street, San Francisco, California between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., (2) upon request to the Task Force Secretary, at telephone number 415-355-3709 or via e-mail at [email protected], or (3) on the meeting website as attachments to the agendas or meeting minutes.


 Adopted:  July 20, 2006

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