06.21 Approved Minutes






THURSDAY, JUNE 21, 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), Vandana Bali (Department of the Environment), Sarah Dennis (Planning Department), 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 10:10 a.m.  Present: Vice-Chair Hagen, Members Hardy, Jordan, Ving, Augustine, Bali, Franza, Mackin, Mellera and St. Jean.  Excused:  Chair Bowen, Members Berman, Ferry, and Kornfield. Absent:  Member Dennis.


2.      Approval of the May 17, 2007 Biodiesel Access Task Force Regular Meeting Draft Minutes.  Upon Motion by Vice-Chair Hagen and second by Member Ving, the May 17, 2007 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection. (Explanatory Document:  May 17, 2007 Approved Minutes) (Action). 


Items 3 and 4 were heard together.


3.      Status Report on Recommendations to the Board of Supervisors on Incentives for Gas Stations to Sell Biodiesel (Continued discussion from the May 17, 2007 Meeting) (Informational Report).

SPEAKERS: Chair Eric Bowen and Member Dina Mackin


Vice-Chair Hagen reported that the Task Force had decided that payroll tax incentives would not be an option at this time, and that the Health Department fees would be the best approach to consider.  Member Mackin reported that any kind of payroll tax exemption including clean tech does not seem promising at this time, but indicated that she would continue working on new avenues for discussion at the Board of Supervisors after the election. Member Ving stated that she has been talking to gas stations door to door to research what incentives would make the program feasible for them. Member St. Jean asked if the stations were responsive to just helping with promotion of their efforts to switch to biodiesel.  It was explained that several stations were weary of promotion and were more interested in offsetting their expenses or renting a portion of their space for dispensing. 


Member Ving indicated that she would be contacting the Shell stations that have expressed an interest in dispensing biodiesel to discuss alternative incentives that would not consist of City expenditures.  Member Mackin suggested finding stations that are unsure to discuss their issues and challenges. 


4.      Recommendation Letter to the Health Department on Fee Waivers for Biodiesel Filling Stations (Continued discussion from the May 17, 2007 Meeting) (Discussion and Possible Action). 

SPEAKERS: Chair Eric Bowen and Member Benjamin Jordan


Member St. Jean reported that the Health Department has received various neighborhood complaints regarding biodiesel dispensaries that had not been disclosed to the Health Department, and as a result she would not be able to recommend approving blanket fee waivers.  It was stated that the recommendation letter may not be necessary because the Health Department has an existing Ordinance that establishes a procedure for issuing fee waivers on a case-by-case basis for any business that demonstrates their compliance to be clean and green and their readiness for spills and environmental crises. Member St. Jean stated that it would be up to the business to demonstrate how they would qualify for the waiver.  It was recommended that an emergency plan be created to address spills and fires.  Member Mackin suggested marketing clean and green fee waivers to potential biodiesel dispensing stations. Member St. Jean stated that she would like to develop a standard for clean and green for biodiesel dispensaries and address areas that are zoned for a neighborhood and less industrial. 


Member Hardy asked if there would be a difference between an indoor versus an outdoor site.  Member St. Jean stated that the emergency plan would address these issues. Member Jordan discussed the existing permitting scenario for 38 Otis Street, which is an indoor site.  Member St. Jean stated that whether the site is indoor or outdoor is not as important as whether the site is ready for emergencies.  Member Hardy inquired about Fire Department compliance.  Member St. Jean requested that the Task Force request more input from the Fire and Zoning Departments.  Member Jordan reported that Member Dennis had issued a memorandum on permitting considerations for B20 and B100 biodiesel for public dispensing.


Member Jordan recommended issuing the letter as a formal recommendation from the Task Force that would be a policy stance and would reference language in the existing fee waiver program. Member Ving stated that there would be a benefit to issuing the letter, as it would help clarify what has been discussed.  Member St. Jean requested that the letter be more general with less specificity for each scenario.  Member Jordan indicated that he would revise the letter for consideration and approval at the July 19 meeting.


5.      Status Report on the Letter Mailed to Gas Stations on the Prospect of Selling Biodiesel to Individual Consumers (Informational Report). 

SPEAKERS:  Vice-Chair Adam Hagen and Chair Eric Bowen


Vice-Chair Hagen reported that three Shell stations had responded with interest on the prospect of selling biodiesel.  It was stated that Chair Bowen would be meeting with one of the stations this week to discuss different options, and a status report would be given at the next meeting.  Vice-Chair Hagen requested that the letter be sent out a second time in July.  The Task Force Secretary indicated she would check whether this action would require another vote by the Task Force.  Member St. Jean suggested showing the letter to the Department of Public Health’s HAZMAT inspectors in charge of regulating the stations in order to make sure it is reaching the right person.


6.      Update on Permitting Regulations for Biodiesel (Continued Discussion from the May 17, 2007 Meeting) (Informational Report). 

SPEAKER:  Member Benjamin Jordan


Member Jordan reported that as Member Ving mentioned, it is difficult to get landowners, tenants, and managers all on the same page.  It was stated that there are a few interested applicants, two for dispensing biodiesel to a private cooperative fueling fleet, Rainbow Grocery and the Auto Service Center at 38 Otis Street, and one for rail car storage and handling at LBRailco.  Member Jordan stated that he is working on developing a permit application for a business that runs 7 to 8 buses that runs on B100 who wants to have fuel stored in their facility for fueling their fleet.  It was explained that there is no public sale of B100 yet in California; it can only be sold to a fleet because it is still experimental.


Member Jordan indicated that a lot of this effort has gone through the Building Department and that discussions are now being held with the Health and Fire Departments on various requirements.  Checklists and codes are being reviewed to understand what parts apply to biodiesel. After the permitting pilot scenarios have been moved through, there will be a precedence set for the type of technology, configuration and site.   Member Jordan explained that other than the general complexity, there are no major hurdles, and it is a step-by-step process.  Vice-Chair Hagen asked if the process would be complete by the Task Force’s sunset date in December.  Member Jordan stated it is unclear but it is hoped that a business would be open for dispensing by then.  It was explained that each scenario has issues associated with it that may not allow the project to move forward, and it will take time to understand all the regulations. 


This item was continued to the next meeting for ongoing updates.


7.      Citywide Fleet Biodiesel Implementation Update (Continued Discussion from the May 17, 2007 Meeting) (Informational Report). 

SPEAKER: Member Vandana Bali


Member Bali reported that the City has reached 42% citywide fleet use of biodiesel and discussed progress by participating City departments.  It was stated that the newest development is MUNI’s pilot program that will be using biodiesel on their buses.  The Fire Department is continuing to use B20 in about 29 different vehicles, which the majority are ambulances with no service problems reported to date.   Member Ferry (Fire Department member representative) has been working on developing a tank monitoring system; however, the Fire Department does not have funding to purchase the software in this budget cycle. Vice Chair Hagen asked if the Mayor’s Executive Order had allocated any funding that could be used towards this effort and suggested the possibility of private donations.  Member Bali indicated that she had referred Member Ferry to Central Shops to see if they have money in their operating and maintenance budget as well as to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for grant opportunities. 


Member Bali reported that PUC is going to begin their Sunol pilot project in July and water supply in June.  It was stated that the temporary tank that PUC has leased that they are using for water supply in Millbrae is almost done, and they will receive their first shipment of B20 sometime next week.  The PUC City Distribution Department is going through an entire station overhaul and will discuss putting in a new tank just for B20 as they go through the redesign process. Member Bali stated that a discussion would be held with the Recreation and Park Department to start using B20 in their diesel tanks that service the lawnmowers at the golf courses.  The Port can start fueling at the Department of Public Works (DPW) site and have been advised that 14 out of their 20 vehicles can start using biodiesel. 

Member Hardy inquired about the City’s policy on using local sustainable fuel. 


Public Comment:  Mr. von Wedel stated that the City fuel contract developed in December 2005 states that when local production facilities are available, the City vendor of the fuel must use local sustainable fuel.


Member Mellera reported on MUNI’s 6-month pilot program that will consist of 25 of their buses that will be fueled with B20 and compared to an identical set of 25 buses that will not be fueled with B20.  The buses will put in 1000 miles a week, use 3,000 gallons of fuel a day, and will be randomly distributed throughout the City.  The program is specifically looking at the exhaust after treatment devices that are on all of the buses and will be reviewing compatibility issues after review of data.  If all goes well, an early recommendation may be made in September, and all 500 buses would be converted to B20 pending tank cleaning by the various divisions.  Since 20,000 gallons of fuel is used per day, they would want to make sure fuel supplies are adequate and that there are no fuel filter issues, not just on the vehicles but on the pumps themselves.  In addition to the 25 buses, 15 of the hybrid buses would be fueled with B20 starting next week.  The first hybrid bus is already running on biodiesel so that hybrid technology plus biodiesel equals 95% emissions reduction.  The hybrid bus does not charge passengers and runs through the city rotating on different routes so everyone has the potential to experience it.


Public Comment:  Unidentified Speaker asked if pre-maintenance is being implemented when switching to biodiesel and whether there is an awareness that it may clog filters as a result of the initial transition.  It was stated that the pilot program should not be considered a failure as a result of this issue. Member Mellera stated that they understand that even though the underground storage tanks will be cleaned before the biodiesel is delivered next week, that there may be residual.  Member Mellera indicated that because such a high volume of fuel is being used, they are changing fuel filters and pump filters once a week and monitoring the maintenance schedule. It was stated that the pilot program would not be considered a failure because of this issue at least initially and would be considered at first as part of the conversion process and then part of the maintenance process.


Member Bali stated that she has started to track B20 usage by departments and has preliminary numbers from the Airport (4700 gallons per month), the Fire Department (2880 gallons this month) and Central Shops (5000 gallons per month).  It was reported that the secondary fuel contract for the City has been completed with Golden Gate Petroleum, and the Office of Contract Administration will have a kick-off meeting on June 27th.  The first B20 vendor is San Francisco Petroleum and the second is Golden Gate Petroleum.  Member Bali stated that a progress report on vehicles, usage, and objectives would be sent to the Mayor’s Office at the end of July.


Member St. Jean suggested that the new fuel contract should contain a requirement for environmental compliance for the distribution plant even if it isn’t located in San Francisco.      


Public Comment:  Mr. von Wedel inquired about certification of fuel quality.  Member Bali stated that information would be a topic for discussion at the June 27th kick-off meeting.


8.      Informational Report to the Board of Supervisors.  The Task Force will provide comments on a revised draft outline 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.  Task Force Members will be assigned to work on designated sections of the Report.  (Continued Discussion from the May 17, 2007 Meeting) (Discussion) (Explanatory Document:  Biodiesel Task Force Outline Revised 062107). 


Member Jordan distributed a revised outline that includes comments made at the May Task Force meeting.  Member Jordan stated that he would be working on the permitting section.  Member Ving reported that she is working on an outline for the Marine Committee section.  Member Bali inquired about the format for the report and Member Jordan stated that the report would include an introduction, describe work that the Task Force has done, and list accomplishments.  Vice-Chair Hagen inquired about the due date for the report and Task Force Secretary Fish reported that the report was due by the sunset date.  Member Jordan stated that there would be five more meetings until that date. Member Mackin recommended writing the report as close to the sunset date as possible in order to include all accomplishments. 


9.      Status Update on Building a Biodiesel Manufacturing Facility in San Francisco (Continued Discussion from the May 17, 2007 Meeting) (Discussion). 

SPEAKER: Member Dina Mackin


Member Mackin reported that the Port community workshop was held on June 9th and discussed the Hunters Point community’s concerns with the environmental impact of installing a plant in their community.  The community had more questions about biodiesel production than could be addressed within the workshop, so it was decided that there should be a follow up workshop to more thoroughly explore the environmental issues around biodiesel production.  Member Mackin suggested that members of the Biodiesel Access Task Force should get involved or provide input on how to build community support for the project. It was suggested that community members take a tour of a biodiesel production facility either in Gonzales or in Oakland to address their concerns.  Vice-Chair Hagen recommended that a tour be given of the Gonzalez plant because it is a more desirable location and could be viewed sooner than the plant in Oakland.  The importance of satisfying community activists was discussed, as they would be influential in the success of the project.  Vice-Chair Hagen stated that the community should be advised that the production facility would have economic benefits causing more people to use biodiesel, and that more biodiesel usage would reduce air pollution in the City with a result of cleaner air in all neighborhoods. Vice-Chair Hagen recommended that the District Supervisor be involved in the effort to influence the community leaders on (1) how the processing plant promotes biodiesel in a greater San Francisco way which in turn reduces air pollution in the southeast part of the City (2) to speak about green collar jobs and the tie in with City College, and (3) internships and the Oakland Ella Baker Center.


Public Comment:  Female speaker suggested contacting the Ella Baker Center in Oakland to support this effort.      


10.  Biodiesel Access Task Force Sunset Date.  The Task Force will discuss whether to make a request to the Board of Supervisors for an extension of its sunset date of December 31, 2007 to a future date and/or develop a list of priorities on activities that should be completed before the sunset date if not extended (Discussion).  This agenda item was continued to the July 19, 2007 meeting.


11.  New Business/Future Agenda Items (Information and Discussion).  Member Jordan recommended discussion of creating a Policy statement issued by the Task Force to discuss next steps from the Mayor’s mandate that addresses higher biodiesel blends, feedstock preferences, biodiesel sustainability issues, and compliance issues with vendors.  Member Ving requested a discussion on establishing alternative fuel stations on City land.


Public Comment:  Unidentified Speaker stated that the City is looking at fuel cell programs in the next couple of years that would require a source of hydrogen, and would be a good opportunity to tie it in with a City-owned fuel facility.


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.  There was no public comment at this time.


13.  Adjournment.  The Biodiesel Access Task Force meeting adjourned at 12:03 p.m.


The next meeting of the Biodiesel Access Task Force is scheduled for Thursday, July 19, 2007 at 10:00 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.   


Approved:   July 19, 2007

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