02.15 Approved Minutes







THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2007, 10:00 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), Vandana Bali (Department of the Environment), Mike Ferry (Fire Department), Tom Franza (SFPUC), Laurence Kornfield (DBI), Dina Mackin (MOCD), Marty Mellera (MTA), Virginia St. Jean (DPH).






1.      CALL TO ORDER AND ROLL CALL.  The Biodiesel Access Task Force meeting was called to order at 10:15 a.m.  Voting Present:  Chair Bowen (10:25), Vice-Chair Hagen, Members Jordan and Ving.  Voting Excused:  Member Hardy.  Non-Voting Members Present:  Members Augustine, Bali (11:20), Berman (11:15), Ferry, Franza, Mackin and St. Jean.  Absent:  Members Dennis, Kornfield, and Mellera.


2.      ACTION:  Approval of the January 18, 2007 Biodiesel Access Task Force Regular Meeting Draft Minutes.  Upon Motion by Vice-Chair Hagen and second by Member Ving, the January 18, 2007 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES:  Members Hagen, Jordan and Ving; Absent: Chair Bowen). (Explanatory Document:  January 18, 2007 Approved Minutes.)


3.      DISCUSSION AND ACTION:  Continued Discussion and Vote to Approve Recommendations to the Board of Supervisors on Incentives for Gas Stations to Sell Biodiesel (Continued from the January 18, 2007 Meeting). 

SPEAKERS:  Member David Augustine and Chair Bowen


Vice-Chair Hagen distributed “Gas Stations Fees” documentation at the meeting and indicated that the Treasurer’s Tax Collector’s letter distributed at the January meeting could be combined with the gas stations fees to present to the Board of Supervisors Office as recommendations for incentives for gas stations to sell biodiesel (Explanatory Document:  Gas Stations Fees.)


Upon Motion by Vice-Chair Hagen and second by Member Ving, it was approved to send the Treasurer’s Tax Collector’s letter and “Gas Stations Fees” to the Board of Supervisors in either a combined letter or other format (AYES:  Vice-Chair Hagen, Members Jordan and Ving; Absent:  Chair Bowen and Member Hardy).


4.      DISCUSSION AND ACTION.  Approval of Draft Letter to Gas Stations on the Prospect of Selling Biodiesel to Individual Consumers (Continued from the January 18, 2007 Meeting). 

SPEAKER:  Vice-Chair Adam Hagen


Upon Motion by Vice-Chair Hagen and second by Member Jordan, Vice-Chair Hagen and Chair Bowen were authorized to create and send a letter on the Task Force’s behalf to gas station owners soliciting generic interest (AYES:  Vice-Chair Hagen, Members Jordan and Ving, Absent:  Chair Bowen and Member Hardy).


This motion was rescinded when Chair Bowen joined the meeting and presented a draft letter.  Upon Motion by Vice-Chair Hagen and second by Member Ving, the Motion for Vice-Chair Hagen and Chair Bowen to create and send a letter on the Task Force’s behalf was rescinded without objection (AYES:  Chair Bowen, Vice-Chair Hagen, Members Jordan and Ving, Absent:  Member Hardy)


Upon Motion by Vice-Chair Hagen and second by Member Ving, the Draft Letter presented by Chair Bowen was approved with corrections.  The letter was authorized for distribution to gas station owners without objection (AYES:  Chair Bowen, Vice-Chair Hagen, Members Jordan and Ving, Absent:  Member Hardy).  (Explanatory Document:  Final Letter.)


5.      INFORMATIONAL REPORT.  Update on Permitting Regulations for Biodiesel (Continued from the January 18, 2007 Meeting).

SPEAKER:  Member Benjamin Jordan


Member Jordan reported that the purpose is to analyze existing regulations to diversify the ability for biodiesel to be dispensed, stored, or utilized in San Francisco in other than traditional gas stations.  It was advised that a Power Point presentation was presented in November on permitting issues and four scenarios that could be worked through and identified that include:  (1) interior storage and dispensing at an auto shop; (2) dispensing at a non-traditional gas station such as Rainbow Grocery; (3) mobile and temporary fueling permits; and (4) handling of storage permits for biodiesel in railcar quantities. 


Member Jordan stated that all agencies have been consulted with the exception of the Department of Building Inspection (DBI) who is the agency that actually accepts the formal submittals.  It was indicated that dialogue is being established with Member Kornfield, DBI, and a pre-application meeting and submittal of formal applications will be taking place within the next couple of weeks.  Member Jordan advised that he has worked with the landowners at most of these sites and they are now able to co-write the application submittals for DBI.  It was stated that it would take two or three months after submittal to actually write the permits for these activities.  This item was continued for further discussion at the March 13, 2007 meeting.


Chair Bowen joined the meeting at this time.  The Committee readdressed Item 4 after Item 5 was heard.


Items 8-11 were heard before Items 6 and 7.


6.      INFORMATIONAL REPORT:  Citywide Fleet Biodiesel Implementation Update (Continued from the January 18, 2007 Meeting).

SPEAKER: Member Vandana Bali


This item was heard after Item 11.


Member Bali reported that Central Shops is continuing with their tank at Golden Gate Park and continuing to monitor the vehicles at that tank and facility through March.  Central Shops plans to convert their other tank at Cesar Chavez to B20 by March or April.  Member Bali stated that a meeting was held with MUNI who had expressed interest in moving forward with the program and would be putting together a pilot plan.  MUNI agreed to report on their diesel inventory both on their non-revenue and revenue equipment and buses by the end of this month, and will report on a reasonable timeframe to convert those non- revenue buses to B20.  SFPUC ran a pilot on a variety of equipment and vehicles in February and an update will be requested.  The next conference call meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday, from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.  An additional in-person meeting in scheduled in March.


Chair Bowen expressed his support for MUNI moving forward with non-revenue vehicles and recommended that MUNI seek funding from the Bay Area Air Quality District (AQMD) to run tests on biodiesel in the current PM NOx trap devices as part of a verification procedure through AQMD and California Air Resources Board (CARB).  It was reported that there is a recent $25 million CARB grant that allocates a large amount to public transport related projects and could be another source of funds for MUNI 


Member Ferry reported that the Fire Department has finished Phase 1 and are not moving forward with Phase 2 until a cost analysis has been completed on biodiesel implementation citywide for the Fire Department.  A meeting will be held with the Administration next week on the logistics and specifics of costs and next steps will then be determined.  Funding is available until July.  Some vehicles are still being run on biodiesel even though the pilot program is officially over.


Chair Bowen advised that the Task Force mission was to encourage not only private and city adoption of biodiesel, but to encourage the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) to use biodiesel in their buses.  It was reported that no outreach has been done to date, but conversations have taken place between the Department of the Environment and SFUSD.  Chair Bowen recommended reaching out to SFUSD’s fleet manager to join in on meetings for informational purposes.


Public Comment:  Before Member Bali joined the meeting, Mr. von Wedel advised that there was a constructive conference call that took place last week with many different entities.  It was indicated that everything is going well, but there is concern with the condition of storage tanks that is being reviewed.  Mr. Jim Johnson from Central Shops was encouraging and there were no problems reported with pilot studies. It was stated that MUNI is putting together a program to piece together information on previous studies that they have on their protocol for setting up a test pilot program.  


Public Comment:  Mr. David Gavrich, LB Railco reported on two grants that were received at their rail yard for mobile cranes for clear engines and recommended Cummins West as a vendor that is good to work with in terms of alternative fuels and new engines.


7.      INFORMATIONAL REPORT:  Status of the Joint Biodiesel Press Event with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the City of San Francisco, City College of San Francisco, Caltrans, Bayview Hunter's Point Community Residents and Olympian Gas Station (Continued from the January 18, 2007 Meeting).

SPEAKER: Member Vandana Bali


Member Bali reported that she is working with the Mayor’s Office to confirm March 9 as a possible date for the Press Event. 


8.      DISCUSSION and POSSIBLE ACTION:  Discussion on creation of a written report to the Board of Supervisors setting forth its recommendations as well as criteria for evaluating the success of the Task Force's proposals as required by Board of Supervisors Resolution 82-06.


Chair Bowen stated that the Board of Supervisors legislation requires the Task Force to create an informational report to be delivered at the end of the calendar year when the Task Force is due to sunset.  It was stated that a request could be made to extend the Task Force sunset date if additional work was necessary.  A discussion was held on how to begin compiling the report, its contents, and authors.  Chair Bowen recommended that the report be thought of as an informational report to the Board of Supervisors and for others in the City or elsewhere to be able to summarize the work and learning that was done and that would be useful for the biodiesel industry.


Member Ving stated that a response from gas station owners would be helpful when compiling the report.  Member Jordan recommended focusing on the core mission which is increased access for biodiesel in San Francisco for City fleets for those who don’t own cars, gas stations for those that do, and permitting for increased access.


Chair Bowen suggested the following topics and authors for sections of the report:


·         Introduction and Summation (Chair Bowen)

·         Current status report of biodiesel in the City in comparison to when the Task Force first started and accomplishments.  (Member Bali City Status Report and Recommendations).

·         Report on interest from gas stations, e.g. what incentives were requested, how stations began, regulatory problems, infrastructure (Vice-Chair Hagen).

·         Dispensing and Permitting in San Francisco:  Discuss the permitting process from the beginning to the end of the calendar year.  Describe successes, current and future challenges (Member Jordan).

·         Marine activities that were not anticipated in the original legislation (Member Ving).


This item was continued to the March 13, 2007 meeting for discussion and for presentation of outlines by responsible authors.


9.      INFORMATIONAL REPORT:  Status Update on Building a Biodiesel Manufacturing Facility in San Francisco. 

SPEAKER: Member Dina Mackin


Member Mackin reported that meetings have been held with City departments to discuss the potential for building a biodiesel manufacturing facility in San Francisco.  It was stated that enthusiasm was expressed from involved departments, e.g. the Department of the Environment, Public Utilities Commission, Mayor’s Office, and the Port.  The Port was limited because the facility would be an industrial use on their property in the Southern Waterfront, and there is a question of environmental justice that needs to be explored and has been a hold up for putting in biodiesel for the past two years.  A Draft Request for Proposal (RFP) is being drafted for a combination of a lease, contracting, and purchasing agreement.  The idea has been proposed to the Board of Supervisors, Supervisor Maxwell’s Office (the District Supervisor), and the Southern Waterfront Commissioner who have expressed interest in the proposal. 


Member Mackin advised that a presentation would be made at the Southern Waterfront Advisory Council in order to discuss what the potential impacts of a biodiesel manufacturing facility are and requested that Task Force Members provide her with environmental data, e.g. an Environmental Impact Report or other resources that discusses associated emissions, noise impact, smell impact, and the risk associated with manufacturing as opposed to a station or general biodiesel impacts.


Member St. Jean suggested a location that is an existing industrial area.  Member Mackin stated that option is being explored and is looking at ways of incorporating that possibility into an RFP.


Public Comment:  Mr. Michael Gersick asked if the Port would be the lead agency for purposes of CEQA, and stated that he would be interested in the development of the environmental data preliminary to the preparation of an EIR, which is typically done by the lead agency.  Member Mackin stated that a presentation to the community will be required in order for the Port to move forward and needs environmental data in order to make that presentation.  Mr. Gersick asked if the City is involved in every application for development within the jurisdiction of the Port District.  Member Mackin explained that the Port is City property and redevelopment of the Port is part of the City’s agenda. 


Public Comment:  Mr. David Gavrich, Vice-Chair of the Southern Waterfront Advisory Committee and member of the Maritime Commerce Advisory Committee, recommended referencing the Southern Waterfront Area SEIR.  It was stated that the Southern Waterfront Advisory Committee and the Maritime Commerce Advisory Committee has required that every lease within the Port have a clause that the tenant of the Port will use alternative fuels in their vehicles.  Mr. Gavrich indicated that the Southern Waterfront Committee meets on the fourth Wednesday of each month and the next meeting would be on March 28.


Public Comment:  Mr. Keith Wright inquired as to whether companies have expressed an interest in starting a biodiesel manufacturing facility.  Member Mackin stated there has been considerable interest expressed from a few particular companies.  It was stated that the RFP would specify a set of City requirements for the company to follow in running the biodiesel facility.  Mr. Wright asked if the Southern Waterfront is considered as an area to both produce and have retail access of biodiesel.  Member Mackin stated that was the case.   Mr. Wright expressed interest in opening a retail pump as a first step and then to begin a small-scale biodiesel manufacturing facility using restaurant waste grease.  Mr. Wright asked if one of the goals of the Port is to introduce biodiesel to marine facilities.  Member Mackin stated that biodiesel is a City goal, and the Port is a City department.  Member Ving, who is also a member of the Biodiesel Marine Committee, indicated that it was a goal of the Port.  Mr. Wright asked whether the Port would be interested in turning a property that they own or control into a biodiesel facility.  Member Ving stated that the Port is in the process of identifying multiple sites.  Mr. Wright asked whether those properties would be available to the public for lease for biodiesel use permits.  Member Ving stated that the Port’s goal is to identify public access points for multiple users, e.g. recreational boats and ferries. 


Committee members and the public discussed issues surrounding the use of palm oil.  Chair Bowen indicated that palm presents problems for the biodiesel industry, and that a blanket ban would develop a different set of problems.  It was advised that there are sustainable grown palm plantations, and there is a lot of work to grow palm in Hawaii.  Chair Bowen recommended that the focus be less on palm itself and more on the sustainability of the underlying feedstock sources. 


Public Comment:  Mr. Randall von Wedel agreed with Chair Bowen and stated that topics brought up about palm oil are diverse and complex and recommended that Member Mackin review publications on the topic.


10.  INFORMATION:  New Business.  Ms. Fish advised that Task Force members who have missed a meeting can access minutes and documentation from previous meetings on the Biodiesel website.


Member Ving advised that the Marine Subcommittee drafted a letter of appreciation to the Red and White Fleet in recognition of their use of B20 which will be available on the Biodiesel website.  Member Mackin agreed to ask the Mayor for his support of the letter and signature.  Chair Bowen indicated that the Task Force’s preference would be for the letter to come from both the Task Force and the Mayor and second choice would be to have two separate letters.  The letter will be placed on the next Biodiesel Access Task Force meeting for discussion and approval.


Public Comment:  Mr. Randall von Wedel asked that the letter be corrected from “greenhouse gas emissions are reduced” to “reduces greenhouse gases on a life-cycle basis.”  Mr. von Wedel reported that the National Biodiesel Board had their annual conference a week ago in San Antonio to discuss technical and regulatory issues regarding biodiesel.  It was stated that in one of the sessions, a series of awards were given to commend progress in biodiesel among corporations and other organizations that have made huge strides in biodiesel.  The only City and municipal organization that received specific recognition was the City of San Francisco in particular for the Fire Department’s pilot program endorsing B20 that Mr. Ferry and another individual had put together.  Both were flown to Texas to receive the Biodiesel Inspiration Award for 2007.


11.  DISCUSSION:  Future Agenda Items.  Approval of the Commendation Letter to the Red and White Fleet; Review of Outline and Discussion on Informational Report to the Board of Supervisors; Update on Permitting Regulations for Biodiesel; Draft Legislation on Recommendations to the Board of Supervisors on Incentives for Gas Stations to Sell Biodiesel; and Review Responses from Gas Station Letter; Informational Report on Citywide Fleet Implementation; Informational Report on the Joint Press Event, and a Status Update on the Biodiesel Manufacturing Facility . 


Item 6 was heard after this agenda item.


12.  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.


This item was heard after Item 6.


Mr. Wright advised that they are a newly formed partnership that are interested in selling biodiesel in San Francisco and asked for a contact person that can guide individuals or businesses in the process of selling biodiesel.  Additional questions were asked about existing regulations, timeframes for regulation approvals, and other organizations’ interest.  Chair Bowen offered his assistance as the Task Force Chair and advised that there has been interest expressed which has led to one B20 car lock on 3rd Street at this time.  It was stated that the City of San Francisco is interested in fostering the private sector to provide as much biodiesel access as possible.  A discussion was held about Member Jordan’s work in amending City Codes to more appropriately regulate non-toxic fuels such as biodiesel.  Chair Bowen advised that if this is successful, a handbook would be made public on how one can permit a biodiesel station outside of the existing petroleum infrastructure.


13.  ADJOURNMENT.  The Biodiesel Access Task Force meeting adjourned at 11:37 a.m.


Respectfully submitted by,


Monica Fish, Task Force Secretary


** 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:  April 19, 2007

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