03.15 Approved Minutes







THURSDAY, MARCH 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 10:00 a.m.  Voting Present:  Chair Bowen, Vice-Chair Hagen, Members Hardy and Ving; Excused:  Member Jordan. Non-Voting Members Present:  Members Berman, Franza, and Mackin.  Excused:  Members Augustine, Bali, and St. Jean:  Absent:  Members Dennis, Ferry, Kornfield, and Mellera.


2.      ACTION:  Approval of the February 15, 2007 Biodiesel Access Task Force Regular Meeting Draft Minutes.  (Explanatory Document:  February 15, 2007 Draft Minutes).  Continued to the April 19, 2007 Meeting.


Item 4 was heard before Item 3.


3.      INFORMATIONAL REPORT:  Status Report on Recommendations to the Board of Supervisors on Incentives for Gas Stations to Sell Biodiesel (Continued discussion from the February 15, 2007 Meeting). 

SPEAKERS:  Chair Bowen and Vice-Chair Adam Hagen


Vice-Chair Hagen reported that a discussion was held with Chair Bowen on sending recommendations on incentives to the Board of Supervisors, and it was felt that additional work and discussions have to take place with the Health Department before moving forward.


Chair Bowen advised that reports had been received from Member Augustine on the fiscal impact and incentive of recommending an exclusion to the payroll tax and from Member St. Jean on the fiscal impact and incentive of waving various Health Department fees.  Chair Bowen stated that before moving recommendations forward to Supervisor McGoldrick that he would verify with Member St. Jean the Health Department’s response to waiving the fees and meet to discuss any resistance.


Member Mackin inquired whether the payroll tax incentive would apply to any gas station that offers biodiesel or for stations that offer biodiesel exclusively.  Vice-Chair Hagen stated that a limited number of stations would be offered incentives for a limited period of time with a possible escalation over time or sunsetting at a point in time.  Chair Bowen stated that work is being done with Supervisor McGoldrick, the primary sponsor of the tax credit exemption measure, to formulate a proposal.  Member Mackin stated that she is currently working with Supervisor McGoldrick’s Office on a clean tech fuel tax exemption and recommended bundling these issues into one piece of legislation.  Member Mackin explained that it would be more challenging to extend incentives to any gas stations selling biodiesel as it would be giving tax incentives to big multi-national corporations such as oil companies.  Vice-Chair Hagen clarified that incentives would not be offered to oil companies, it would be offered to franchise station owners, who are small business owners, and the legislation should be consistently phrased that way.


Member Hardy asked if the legislation would include Health Department fee waivers along with the payroll tax incentives.  Member Mackin stated that payroll tax incentives were being considered separately from Health Department fees.  Chair Bowen advised that he and Vice-Chair Hagen had worked with Supervisor McGoldrick on the original Clean Tech Tax Credit Bill and the biodiesel component of that bill.  It was explained that the biodiesel component could be added to the bill in a way that it includes a paragraph about a short term incentive for both time and number of stations.  Chair Bowen recommended consulting with Supervisor McGoldrick on whether it should be one or two bills. 


Chair Bowen encouraged not including the Health Department fees in the legislation and indicated that he would speak to Member St. Jean about an administrative fee waiver or a separate bill.  Vice-Chair Hagen stated that it would be more effective to include the Health Department fee waivers along with the payroll tax exemptions in one piece of legislation.  Member Berman suggested that the Health Department fee waivers be tied into anyone that has the payroll tax exemption. Member Mackin advised that the legislation would be an amendment to the Tax Code. An inquiry was made as to what constituted being one of the first five stations to receive the incentive. Chair Bowen stated a decision has not been made, but it could have a geographical requirement or a first in time basis.


Public Comment:  Unidentified Speaker asked if incentives would apply to B100 or any blend.  Chair Bowen stated that the objective is to promote all blends of biodiesel.


4.      DISCUSSION.  Review of Responses Received from the Letter to Gas Stations on the Prospect of Selling Biodiesel to Individual Consumers (Continued discussion from the February 15, 2007 Meeting). 

SPEAKER:  Vice-Chair Adam Hagen


Vice-Chair Hagen reported that the letter from the Biodiesel Access Task Force to gas station owners soliciting generic interest for selling biodiesel was sent to the Gas Station Association, and they had responded that on further thought and deliberation, they did not feel comfortable about sending the letter because of the liability surrounding marketing a new technology to constituents.  It was recommended that the letter be sent out directly to the stations utilizing the Health Department’s and Treasurer’s Office’s contact information.


Chair Bowen recommended that formal approval for distribution of the letter directly to gas station owners be placed on the April meeting agenda.  Vice-Chair Hagen was asked to follow-up with Member Augustine to access the address database.


5.      INFORMATIONAL REPORT.  Update on Permitting Regulations for Biodiesel (Continued discussion from the February 15, 2007 Meeting).

SPEAKER:  Member Benjamin Jordan


Continued to the April 19, 2007 Meeting.


6.      INFORMATIONAL REPORT:  Citywide Fleet Biodiesel Implementation Update (Continued discussion from the February 15, 2007 Meeting).

SPEAKER: Member Vandana Bali


Continued to the April 19, 2007 Meeting.


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 discussion from the February 15, 2007 Meeting).

SPEAKER: Member Vandana Bali


Member Mackin reported on coordination scheduling issues with the Press Office and Mayor’s Scheduling Office.  Member Mackin advised that she had requested a commitment from the San Francisco Port regarding the Request for Proposal for a biodiesel manufacturing plant so that it could be included in the Press Event, but that the Port indicated that they would not be ready until the end of April. 


Chair Bowen reported that a Press Event is being coordinated to announce B20 at the Olympian Station and other biodiesel activities in the City.  It was stated that the Environmental Protection Agency has contacted the Department of Environment wanting to do a press event around grant funding they were doing, particularly the City College program.  Chair Bowen stated that they have been unsuccessfully trying for three months to coordinate EPA’s calendar with the Mayors calendar, and that the EPA and Mayor will be moving ahead on their own.


Public Comment:  Ms. Anne Eng, Department of the Environment, Environmental Justice Program Manager reported that a successful press event was conducted last Friday at the City College Evans Street campus. At the press event, several vehicles that are running on biodiesel were showcased.  The press event had a good turnout and initiated a lot of interest from reporters.  Ms. Eng advised that the EPA is still interested in a press event with the City sometime in April after Earth Day to showcase more of the biodiesel infrastructure that is being developed.  Ms. Eng advised that the Department of the Environment Environmental Justice Program will serve as a subcontractor to City College which is receiving the $200,000 grant from EPA to promote biodiesel regionally. 


Vice-Chair Hagen asked how City College would promote biodiesel.  Ms. Eng reported that the $200,000 grant award from EPA spans two years and covers a robust team of technical advisors that would insure quality control and help distributors as well as fueling stations and end users to dispense biodiesel.  It was explained that curriculum and training would be developed for three separate areas--the fuel distributors, the fleet managers, and the end users.  Eight commercial fleets would be targeted, e.g. construction, food industry, etc.  Ms. Eng advised that they are trying to displace about 6 million gallons of petrofuel by the end of this project. 


Vice-Chair Hagen asked if there were funds for retail distribution.  Ms. Eng stated that funds were not available for retail distribution, but stated that it may be possible to establish a telephone project coordinator contact person to walk people through the process. 

Chair Bowen stated that the City College grant proposal was put together by Member Jordan, Mr. Van Wedel, and Brian at Community Fuels.  Chair Bowen recommended that the City College project coordinator contact Member Jordan, Mr. von Wedel and Brian for actual biodiesel expertise.  Ms. Eng advised that City College has limited experience, but they have conducted biodiesel training workshops for a couple of years and advised that Member Jordan teaches workshops at City College. 


Ms. Eng recommended that an inventory of additional incentives that the Department of the Environment can provide be explored, e.g. technical support, energy efficiency services, energy audit, etc. and stated that it would be a good idea to leverage each other’s work.


Public Comment:  Mr. Michael Gersick stated that a fair amount of time and attention has been spent attempting to coordinate the schedules of significant players around press events.  It was stated that biodiesel development is going to depend on public awareness, public acceptance, and a sense of familiarity and identification, and that public information and press and media relations are an important part of the agenda.  Mr. Gersick asked if the Task Force is authorized to hold its own Press Event in order to move forward. 


Chair Bowen indicated that the Task Force is empowered to have its own Press Events and invite important people to attend.  It was stated that there is better press with the Mayor present.  Chair Bowen advised that they would proceed without the EPA at this time as it is too hard to coordinate the different schedules.  Member Mackin advised that the Mayor is more likely to show up at a press event when there is something major to announce, such as the Port RFP, not just to raise awareness on an issue.  Vice-Chair Hagen recommended not waiting until the end of April and suggested scheduling a press event with possibly Board of Supervisors members to announce that there is a station open for fleets and recommended that the other issues, such as the RFP be scheduled as separate events. 


Chair Bowen stated that he would prepare a list of announcements for Member Mackin to present to the Mayor for a press event to be scheduled in the first two weeks of April.  Member Mackin recommended waiting until the end of April to coordinate the press event with Earth Week as suggested by the EPA.


8.      DISCUSSION and POSSIBLE ACTION:  Review and approval of an outline of an Informational 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 (Continued discussion from the February 15, 2007 Meeting).


Chair Bowen discussed Informational Report topics and assigned authors, as discussed at the February 15 Task Force meeting. Chair Bowen motioned to approve the outline of the Informational Report as discussed, second by Vice-Chair Hagen. (AYES:  Chair Bowen, Vice-Chair Hagen, Members Hardy and Ving; Absent:  Member Jordan.)


Informational Report Topics and Authors that were approved:


·         Introduction and Summation—Chair Bowen

·         Status Report on City’s Actual Use of Biodiesel–Member Bali

·         Report on Interest from Gas Stations—Vice-Chair Hagen--not yet available

·         Dispensing and Permitting in San Francisco—Member Jordan—research that was done about the current permitting situation and what to do to change the permitting to promote independent B100 fueling outside of the existing petroleum infrastructure.  Member Berman requested that Transportation, Storage, Transloading and Blending of Biodiesel be added to this category.  Member Hardy asked whether Member Dennis was working on creating a handbook with Member Jordan on the permitting process.  Chair Bowen confirmed that was the case.

·         Marine Activities and a Summary of the Activities of the Marine Biodiesel Access Task Force-Member Ving. 

·         Latest Emissions Data, particularly on NOX.  Chair Bowen recommended that Mr. von Wedel either write or provide the background for this item.

·         Greenhouse Gases and Reductions that have resulted because of the efforts of the Task Force.

·         Website Outreach/Education to the Public and Relevant Agencies—Member Ving.


9.      INFORMATIONAL REPORT:  Status Update on Building a Biodiesel Manufacturing Facility in San Francisco (Continued discussion from the February 15, 2007 Meeting). 

SPEAKER: Member Dina Mackin


Member Mackin reported that she is meeting today with Department Heads from SFPUC, the Port, and the Department of the Environment to come to an agreement on the terms for the Request for Proposal for building a biodiesel manufacturing facility.  It was stated that a meeting was held with Mr. von Wedel on how to approach this RFP so that desired responses would be received and to identify relevant technical issues.  Member Mackin stated that a proposed draft has been started and that a commitment is pending from the Port in order to release the RFP.  It was stated that all indicators are good as there are many community members that are strong advocates and no resistance has been heard. 


Member Berman advised that the Port had scheduled this item before their Southern Waterfront Advisory Committee, but it had been separated from the original agenda item.  Member Mackin advised that there would be a day long workshop for the Port to review all of the different proposals that are being considered that may have also been postponed.  Member Berman advised that the Port is not opposed to biodiesel, but has broader responsibilities about land use decisions that may be halting progress.


Member Mackin reported that the Port has three laws or plans that regulate what its uses are to be.  The two major ones are that most long-term activities are required to be maritime uses.  Member Mackin explained that biodiesel manufacturing could be explained as maritime or public use depending on how the feedstock and products are transported.  Member Berman stated that there is preference for maritime activities and there are different criteria under which the terms of a lease can be established.  Member Mackin advised that the Port accepts non-maritime for short term leases, and that the grease recycling would be housed in temporary structures. 


10.  DISCUSSION AND ACTION:  Discussion and Approval of the Commendation Letter to the Red and White Fleet for their use of Biodiesel B20.

SPEAKERS:  Members Karri Ving and Dina Mackin


Member Mackin read the Mayor’s commendation letter addressed to the Red and White Fleet and stated that she would advise the Task Force when the letter would be signed and available for the Task Force to mail out. 


Upon Motion by Vice-Chair Hagen and second by Chair Berman, the Mayor’s commendation letter to the Red and White Fleet was approved without objection (Absent:  Member Jordan).


11.  INFORMATION:  New Business/Future Agenda Items.  Member Ving updated the Task Force on the Marine Subcommittee’s March 13 meeting.  Topics discussed included:


·         Being able to establish a public access point for boaters in San Francisco along the piers.

·         Discussion with Gas House Cove, next to Fort Mason, a popular recreational boating fueling center, to see if the owner of that site would be willing to move towards installing a biodiesel fuel pump.

·         Revising Mr. von Wedel’s boater’s handbook and placing on the Biodiesel website and for use at a future workshop

·         Creating a public reference document for Earth Day (April 22) and opening day on the Bay for Boaters (first week of May).  Sausalito should have a biodiesel fuel pump up and running with the goal of Earth Day.

·         Recognizing the various agencies that are working towards using any type of biodiesel for marine applications, e.g. Red and White Fleet, Alcatraz Cruises.

·         Alcatraz Cruises’ mandate to push for a biodiesel or an alternative fuel ferry system.


Member Hardy discussed the success of the Biofuels Oasis week-long workshop on how to start a biodiesel station and reported on the curriculum and attendance at the workshop.  It was stated that three of the attendees appeared to be interested in starting a station.  It was advised that another workshop would be held in the Fall.  Member Hardy stated that How to Start a Biodiesel Station would be a good training resource in addition to City College’s training resources, and the book is available for purchase at the Biofuels Oasis or online. 


Vice-Chair Hagen requested that a discussion be held at the April meeting on the San Francisco Unified School District’s school bus situation.


Public Comment:  Ms. Eng discussed clean air provisions that have been included into the school bus contract and requested that an update be given at the April meeting.  Chair Bowen advised that he had recommended that the San Francisco Unified School District fleet manager participate in the City fleet manager biodiesel discussions.  Chair Bowen stated that the School District was recently sued for emissions and that Mr. Drew was considering reaching out to them to offer biodiesel or other solutions.


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. 


Unidentified Speaker recommended that the Boater’s Handbook be easily understandable and discussed the affordability of biodiesel being a major factor in its success.


13.  ADJOURNMENT.  The Biodiesel Access Task Force meeting adjourned at 11:32 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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