09.20 Approved Minutes






THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2007, 10:00 A.M.





TASK FORCE MEMBERS:  VOTING:  Eric Bowen (Chair), Adam Hagen (Vice-Chair), Melissa Hardy, Benjamin Jordan.  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), Vacant (MOCD), Marty Mellera (MTA), Virginia St. Jean (DPH).


Task Force Secretary:  Monica Fish



1.      Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Biodiesel Access Task Force meeting was called to order at 10:10 a.m.  Present Voting:  Chair Bowen, Vice-Chair Hagen, Members Hardy and Jordan.  Non-Voting Present:  Members Berman and St. Jean; Absent:  Members Augustine, Dennis, Ferry, and Kornfield.  Non-Voting Excused:  Members Bali, Franza and Mellera.  Chair Bowen had announced during the meeting that Karri Ving who had previously been a voting member would be appointed as the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission representative effective October 1 replacing Tom Franza who would be retiring.  Ms. Ving had to resign as a voting member in order for this transition to take place and would be participating as a member of the public today.


2.      Approval of the August 16, 2007 Biodiesel Access Task Force Regular Meeting Draft Minutes (Discussion and Action). Upon Motion by Vice-Chair Hagen and second by Chair Bowen, the August 16, 2007 Meeting Minutes were approved (AYES: Chair Bowen, Vice-Chair Hagen, Members Hardy and Jordan) (Explanatory Document:  August 16, 2007 Approved Minutes).


3.      Status Report on Recommendations to the Board of Supervisors on Incentives and Other Measures that the Task Force Should Take to Promote Biodiesel.  The Task Force will also consider developing letters to send to the Fire Department and other City agencies recommending fee waivers. (Continued discussion from the August 16, 2007 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion).

SPEAKER: Chair Eric Bowen and Member Benjamin Jordan


Chair Bowen and Members St. Jean and Jordan confirmed that the letter recommending fee waivers had been sent to Ms. Cone of the Health Department.  Member Jordan asked if there was a method of ongoing reporting for the number of biodiesel applications reviewed for fee reductions by the Health Department.  Member St. Jean reported that there had not been any applications to date for B99, B100.  It was explained that the Health Department does not get notified when stations switch from diesel to biodiesel.  Member Jordan reported that Member Ferry of the Fire Department is still working on identifying a person to send a letter to as it is within their permitting component.  Member Jordan stated that he had also contacted Member Kornfield at the Department of Building Inspection.


Chair Bowen reported that the tax exemption for clean tech did not go forward.  It was stated that the Task Force had determined that an independent tax exemption may not have much impact based on the information supplied by Member Augustine.  It was explained that the letter to the Health Department identifying and requesting fee waivers would be on a case-by-case basis, and additional letters are being worked on to send to the Fire Department and the Department of Building Inspection.  Chair Bowen stated that a discussion was held on whether grant funding would be available to help facilitate stations that are interested in providing biodiesel.  It was stated that Member Bali would be following up with Jared Blumenfeld, Director of the Department of the Environment, on the status of potential offsets or other pools.  


Items 4 and 9 were heard together.


4.      Status Report on Discussions with Gas Stations on the Prospect of Selling Biodiesel to Individual Consumers (Continued discussion from the August 16, 2007 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion). 

SPEAKER:  Chair Eric Bowen


Chair Bowen reported that Mr. Eric Smith has been hired as the Green Depot Coordinator, which is a Department of the Environment grant-funded project for one year to work on reducing diesel emissions in the Bayview Hunters Point and Potrero neighborhoods by using biodiesel.  It was explained that Mr. Smith had provided follow-up with gas station owners that had responded to the Task Force’s letter on the prospect of selling biodiesel to individual consumers.  Mr. Smith reported that he had received a list of interested station owners, which he had contacted.  It was stated that San Francisco Petroleum had eliminated premium fuel and has installed a B100, B99 tank and that SF Biofuels Coop has applied for a fleet car so members can fuel there on a 24-hour seven-days a week basis.  Mr. Smith stated that he had several conversations with Shell stations that have all been extremely enthusiastic about running biodisel, discussing cost, incentives, and what the final breakdown would be.  It was stated that most of the Shell stations are franchises that would have to request corporate permission.  The stations that were the most interested and had responded to the letter are San Francisco Petroleum at 18th and 3rd; the Shell Station at 17th and Potrero; Shell at corner of Divisadero and Fell; and the Shell on Bayshore Boulevard.


Mr. Smith reported that the general public would not be able to go to the Olympian Station as the biodiesel is for fleets, but the general public can go to San Francisco Petroleum.  Member Berman asked if San Francisco Petroleum dispenses B20.  Chair Bowen stated that B20 is dispensed at the Olympian Station; B99.9 and B100 are dispensed at San Francisco Petroleum.  Vice-Chair Hagen asked if Mr. Smith would be collecting a list of station owners’ questions and concerns and be able to answer them directly or whether the questions would be brought before the Task Force.  Mr. Smith stated that he would be consulting this body, members of the Biodiesel Cooperative, the Oasis, and other experts in order to provide information.  Mr. Smith also stated that he has been asked to create a database specifically of Bayview Hunters Point and Potrero diesel stations, users, and fleets that want to use biodiesel. 


Vice-Chair Hagen asked if Mr. Smith had an outreach plan.  Mr. Smith stated that he is planning on mobilizing volunteers, gathering and providing literature, and do mailings.  A discussion was held on methods for publicizing Mr. Smith’s efforts.  Chair Bowen stated that Mr. Smith has been focusing primarily on infrastructure issues.  Mr. Smith stated that he had an interview that was published in the Examiner; BBC took a photo of him at the Oasis; has been appearing at events as a biodiesel advocate; and writes a column for Beyond Chron every week. 


Member Hardy asked if Green Depot is looking for its own rental property to set up a station.  Mr. Smith stated that a doctor, who owns a building at 20th and Mission, has agreed to rent Green Depot office space for free until December 31.  Green Depot has since invited SF Biofuels Recycling to move in, but there won’t be any fueling.  The Green Depot has managed to absorb the SF Biofuels Cooperative so all of their files, t-shirts, license plates, and bookkeeping are now housed at the Green Depot.  Mr. Smith reported that they would not be getting into the business of fueling, but would like to help the Coop and any other entities in promoting biodiesel. Chair Bowen stated that the Department of the Environment’s grant funded program is for a facilitator to help the private sector provide biodiesel and that it could be out of the gas station model.  If there were someone in the Bayview Hunters Point area that wanted to find a spot in the Bayview Hunters Point area, it would be appropriate for Mr. Smith to help facilitate this effort; however, Green Depot would not reach out on its own to do that.


Public Comment


Ms. Ving asked if the interested station owners had inquired about permitting.  Mr. Smith stated that in his preliminary brief conversations, permitting wasn’t so much of an issue for them as getting corporate permission. The bottom line was “how much of a profit I am going to make from this?”  “How much is this going to cost me?”  Mr. Smith stated that he would be meeting with the 17th and Potrero station owner to discuss his questions.  Mr. Smith indicated that he has questions for the Task Force about permitting, incentives, what the Task Force might be able to do, offer or recommend.  Ms. Ving suggested inviting the station owners to a meeting, particularly the Fell Street gas station, to get their view on this process and perspective.  Vice-Chair Hagen suggested inviting all the interested station owners to a Task Force meeting so questions could be answered.


Mr. Eric Lovecchio reported that there are two gas stations in Los Angeles that have been successful in dispensing biodiesel and asked if there are any affiliates of that gas station in San Francisco.  Chair Bowen stated that the closest station is in Santa Cruz and possibly Santa Rosa.  Member Jordan stated that the station in Santa Cruz is doing very well also.   


Mr. Wesley Caddell, Peoples Fuel asked (1) if Mr. Smith’s next steps would be to follow up with station owners to set up informational meetings; and (2) about the direction that would be taken on questions regarding price points.  Mr. Smith stated that he wants to find out what their questions are and then would request counseling from experts.


5.      Update on Permitting Regulations for Biodiesel (Continued Discussion from the August 16, 2007 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion). 

SPEAKER:  Member Benjamin Jordan


Member Jordan reported that there have been no major developments since the last meeting.  It was reported that the permit application for mobile fueling was approved by the Fire Department and received, and coordination efforts are underway with Rainbow Grocery to do mobile fueling at their loading dock three days a week.  Member Jordan stated that he is working with Rainbow Grocery staff and hopefully by the next meeting, fueling will begin. Two other alternatives to gas station dispensing that are being developed and permits have been applied for are (1) the 38 Otis Street, Auto Service Center location, that will have two small tanks, plastic totes, to dispense to their automotive repair customers and other people that come in; and (2) the Rainbow Grocery permit above ground steel tank that is slated for their back lot. Member Jordan indicated that the Fire Marshall approved the permits in July, and they are currently trying to locate the permit.  The mobile fueling permit is only reviewed by the Fire Department.  The other applications are reviewed by the Department of Building Inspection who then routes the application to all of the Departments; e.g., Planning, Building, Fire, Health, Weights and Measures. Vice-Chair Hagen asked if part of this process is to track all of these steps for the permitting documentation process.  Member Jordan confirmed that was the case and stated that the permitting process is also explained by DBI. 


Member Jordan reported that permitting and regulations for LBRailco has not had a lot of movement.  It was stated that the Maher Ordinance Environmental Review and geotechnical work are being finalized.  Permitting through the Port will begin in the next month and then construction will begin when final construction documents are agreed upon.  Member Jordan stated that the only other item is the residential handling and storage guidelines recommendations, which are in development.  Member Jordan discussed paralleling this effort with the EPA, West Coast Collaborative Region 9 money that is going through City College. 


Vice-Chair Hagen requested an update on the MUNI hybrid buses.  Member Jordan reported that the buses have been running for three months and that everything is going well with no problems reported. Committee members also held a discussion on sealant problems that have been experienced when using low-sulphur fuels.  Member St. Jean stated that she is interested in inviting a State Water Board employee who is interested in researching an underground tank system to a future meeting.


Public Comment:  Mr. Randall von Wedel discussed problems with (1) the combination of biodiesel and ULSD, which have appeared in specific engines and fuel injection systems; and (2) TDI injection pumps and ULSD. 


6.      Informational Report to the Board of Supervisors Update (Continued Discussion from the August 16, 2007 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion). 

SPEAKER: Member Benjamin Jordan


Ms. Ving presented copies to the Task Force of a Marine Committee outline that would be included in the Informational Report.  The outline’s contents were discussed (see Explanatory Document:  )  Ms. Ving reported on the internal Port Committee that would be working to establish their role with biodiesel.  It was stated that outreach efforts would include having a Boater’s Handbook designed by Mr. von Wedel available to the public and published on the website as well as promoting other cities’ current use of biodiesel for marine applications.  Ms. Ving stated that there is also a tremendous amount of cruise ship activity worth exploring and including on the Biodiesel Task Force website; e.g., what role can we play working with cruise ships to educate them on biodiesel use and creating a mandate that they use clear burning fuels when they come into the Bay Area.  That effort would be in conjunction with a number of other ports, such as Richmond and Oakland.  The Appendix includes a lot of informational material received from Ms. Terri Shore, Friends of the Earth and Mr. von Wedel. 


Chair Bowen recommended that a final outline for approval be presented at the October meeting, and that everyone draft their sections and present a working draft for the November meeting. Final revisions can then be made for a December delivered document.  Member Jordan stated that he would provide the draft outline in enough time so that people that have their names assigned to a specific topic can provide comments.  Chair Bowen requested that a name be placed by each topic so everyone knows what they will be writing between the October and November meeting. 


Public Comment:  Mr. von Wedel stated that he would email additional appendices to Ms. Ving for review to present to the Marine Committee; e.g., information on how to apply for a permit for a fuel dock and a list of all agencies to contact.  A report was made on the Sausalito fuel tank. 


7.      Biodiesel Access Task Force Sunset Date.  The Task Force will discuss the Biodiesel Access Task Force sunset date of December 31, 2007 and consider alternatives for its extension or reorganization (Continued discussion from the August 16, 2007 Meeting) (Discussion). 

SPEAKER: Chair Eric Bowen


Chair Bowen reported that the consensus from previous meetings had been that there was a real need for this Task Force to continue. That in continuing, the Task Force would want to expand its scope, but not beyond biodiesel. Task Force members agreed that the Task Force should be extended for an additional two years and would meet every other month for a total of 12 meetings.  The purview would be expanded from just public access, to public access and working with the City and other government agencies, and to add a public health scope.  The idea is to start working around sustainability and biodiesel preference standards that we would look to incorporate into the City’s next fuel contract.  Chair Bowen would work on creating draft legislation to extend the Task Force with the Deputy City Attorney to present to the Task Force for approval in October and then present to Supervisor Jake McGoldrick for introduction in October and November.  Chair Bowen would inquire as to whether the extension process would include a new appointment process.    


Vice-Chair Hagen asked whether the school bus issue should be written into the scope or covered into an expanded scope.  Chair Bowen stated that the scope could be expanded to work with city and other government agencies. 


Public Comment


Mr. von Wedel discussed new biodiesel-like products—diesel fuels that are made from a variety of animal or plant materials.


Mr. Eric Smith discussed previous meeting discussions on biodiesel in school buses.  Chair Bowen stated that Member Bali had been working on gathering information on this topic. 


8.      Next Steps for Biodiesel in San Francisco.  The Task Force will discuss recommendations for how biodiesel and alternative fuels can be integrated into the City in the future (Continued Discussion from the August 16, 2007 Meeting) (Discussion).

SPEAKER:  Member Benjamin Jordan


Continued to the October 18, 2007 Meeting.


9.      Update on the Green Depot Environmental Justice Program (Continued discussion from the August 16, 2007 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion).  See Item 4’s discussion.

SPEAKER: Chair Eric Bowen


10.  Update on the Biofuel Recycling Waste Cooking Oil Program (Continued discussion from the August 16, 2007 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion).

SPEAKER: Member Benjamin Jordan


Member Jordan reported that the Planning Department has a site which is being worked on. It was explained that there is an effort to recycle waste vegetable oil, the lipid waste stream, from the solid waste and the discharges that goes into the sanitary sewer system.  Both of those are where illegal dumping occurs and causes a lot of problems.  The Department of the Environment is working on the solid waste stream, and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is focused on the sanitary sewer collection system.  Member Jordan stated that the PUC is working on a commercial transfer station to accept waste vegetable oil from all restaurants.  Work is being done to develop a residential drop-off location by Thanksgiving.  The transfer station is located at the wastewater treatment plant at 1701 Jerrold and should be built and operational by January 2008 to accept upwards of 50,000 to 100,000 gallons of residential and commercial vegetable oil per month.  Work is also being done to establish approximately a dozen drop-off locations throughout the city.  Member Jordan reported that San Francisco restaurants who want to have their restaurant grease picked up can be routed to Ms. Ving, who is PUC’s Biofuels Coordinator, as the PUC now picks up restaurant grease from commercial locations.  Ms. Ving stated that there will be a lot of education planned on why restaurants should switch over to pure vegetable oil.    


11.     New Business/Future Agenda Items (Information and Discussion). 


Member St. Jean reported that she has been working with a new Weights and Measures biodiesel staff member, Mr. Jorge Villet, who would like to share some of the issues surrounding dispensers.  Mr. Villet is also in charge of the hauling licenses.  Member St. Jean stated that she would also like to invite the Water Board staff member who is working on approving underground tank systems.  Chair Bowen recommended that Member St. Jean extend invitations so that this item could be heard at the October meeting.


Member Ving reported that Member Franza will be retiring in October and distributed a letter of appreciation for members to review, which would be placed on Biodiesel City letterhead and forwarded to Member Franza.


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 11:55 a.m.


The next meeting of the Biodiesel Access Task Force will be held on Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 10:00 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.   


Respectfully submitted by,


Monica Fish, Task Force Secretary


Approved: October 18, 2007

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