11.15 Approved Minutes






THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 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), Laurence Kornfield (DBI), Vacant (MOCD), Marty Mellera (MTA), Virginia St. Jean (DPH), Karri Ving (SFPUC).



1.      Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Biodiesel Access Task Force meeting was called to order at 10:15 a.m.  Present Voting: Chair Bowen, Members Hardy and Jordan.  Excused: Vice-Chair Hagen, (One Vacant). Non-Voting Present:  Members Bali, St. Jean, Mellera and Ving; Excused:  Member Berman; Absent: Members Augustine, Dennis, Ferry, and Kornfield.   


2.      Approval of the October 18, 2007 Biodiesel Access Task Force Regular Meeting Draft Minutes

Upon Motion by Member Hardy and second by Member Jordan, the October 18, 2007 Meeting Minutes were approved (AYES: Chair Bowen, Members Hardy and Jordan; Absent:  Vice-Chair Hagen) (Explanatory Document:  October 18, 2007 Approved Minutes) (Discussion and Action).


Items 3 and 11 were heard together.


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 continue their discussion on developing letters to send to the Fire Department and other City agencies recommending fee waivers. (Informational Report and Discussion) (Continued discussion from the October 18, 2007 Meeting).

SPEAKER: Chair Eric Bowen and Member Benjamin Jordan


Chair Bowen reported that he had met with Supervisor McGoldrick who had requested a list of Task Force accomplishments and recommendation for the number of members the Task Force should have to add to the extension legislation.  Task Force members agreed to a seven-member Task Force and a two-year extension. Chair Bowen discussed Task Force accomplishments that included:


·        The Olympian Station on 3rd Street is selling B20.

·        Assisting San Francisco Petroleum on Illinois Street in attaining B100.

·        Assisting the Gold/Swiggers in starting their station in the Potrero Hill district.

·        Setting up Rainbow Grocery’s temporary fueling three nights a week starting November 15.

·        Creating a letter and reaching a philosophical agreement with the Department of Public Health to offer discretionary waivers for biodiesel fueling stations if all other relevant criteria were to be met. Working on a similar type of provision with the Fire Department.

·        Member Jordan working with the Department of Building Inspection and others on general streamlining issues and permits for both mobile and permanent B100 fueling.

·        Assisting the City in achieving its goal of 100% B20 usage by the end of the year.

·        Becoming a center of excellence that others including federal and state agencies are seeking out.


Chair Bowen stated that he had reported to Supervisor McGoldrick that Member Augustine’s analysis on the payroll tax exemption incentive for gas stations showed that it would not be a worthwhile incentive or worth pursuing stand-alone legislation. A discussion was held about possibly including biodiesel in the clean-tech tax legislation.  The conclusion was that the Task Force is doing good work and should continue to provide this service to the community, that tax credits would not be the right incentive, and the Task Force would continue to look for other incentives to report on.  Supervisor McGoldrick recommended a two-year extension of the Task Force and would introduce the legislation to the Board on Tuesday, November 20.  Chair Bowen reported that the legislation would reference:


·        Broadening the Task Force’s scope to help establish the City’s biodiesel sustainability standards.

·        Task Force would be more active in assisting the City and other agencies like the School District to start using biodiesel.

·        The Task Force membership would increase to seven and be extended an additional two years.


Chair Bowen explained the process for adding additional members--the Rules Committee posts a public announcement of Task Force vacancies, interested parties would submit their applications, and then a hearing would be held that would result in appointments.  It was stated that Supervisor McGoldrick would review whether current members could be reappointed through the extension legislation or would have to go through a new appointment process.  Member Hardy announced that she may be resigning from the Task Force because she would no longer be a San Francisco resident. The Task Force Secretary stated that a residency waiver could be granted if a San Francisco resident could not be found to fulfill the requirement of the seat.


Public Comment:  Mr. Mark Eshbaugh, San Francisco Petroleum, inquired about the Rainbow Grocery permit.  Member Jordan stated that a mobile fueling permit had been approved by the Fire Department for Rainbow Grocery, and People’s Fuel Cooperative would be dispensing the fuel off the side of its tank trunk.


4.      Status Report on Discussions with Gas Stations on the Prospect of Selling Biodiesel to Individual Consumers and Green Depot Program Report (Informational Report and Discussion) (Continued discussion from the October 18, 2007 Meeting).   

SPEAKERS:  Chair Eric Bowen and Mr. Eric Smith, Green Depot Program and Guests


Mr. Smith reported that on November 14, San Francisco Cooperative assigned their first fuel cards from San Francisco Petroleum. It was announced that with Rainbow Grocery starting fueling today, there is more biodiesel in San Francisco than ever before.  In addition, Ms. Swiggers will be talking about her plans for staring a station during agenda item 5.  Mr. Smith reported that Green Depot has been compiling a database of biodiesel users through the Coop.  A meeting was held with Member Jordan, Department of the Environment, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who is supporting the biodiesel movement and the recycling grease program for sustainability. Green Depot will be assisting in producing brochures and pamphlets along with the Department of the Environment targeting San Francisco residents to help them understand biodiesel and to inform them where biodiesel is available (Biofuel Oasis, SF Petroleum, Olympian, People’s Fuel and Rainbow).  Member Jordan reported that the EPA through their West Coast Collaborative awarded a grant to a team consisting of the Department of the Environment, City College, Community Fuels, BioSolar and Peoples Fuel Cooperative to create educational material and provide outreach and manuals for end users. The educational grant is ongoing for the next year and a half.


Mr. Smith reported that he would be working with other grantees from the Department of the Environment once they come online. It was stated that Green Depot has been tasked with creating a database of end users (residents, fleet owners and gas stations) to implement activities and to provide information to.  Mr. Smith indicated that San Francisco Petroleum who has the City’s fueling contract agreed to make the San Francisco Biofuels Cooperative a fleet so that any resident in San Francisco can have access to biodiesel.


Member Hardy inquired about the status of Mr. Smith’s discussions with gas stations on the prospect of selling biodiesel.  Mr. Smith stated that he would be working with Mr. Jordan on a database of all of the stations in Bayview Hunters Point and Potrero Hill districts, which is the limit of his scope.  Member St. Jean asked if the San Francisco Petroleum location is dispensing B20 in addition to B100.


Public Comment:  Mr. Eshbaugh stated that SF Petroleum is dispensing B100 and not B20. Chair Bowen inquired about the success of sales of B100.  It was stated that B100 sales are steady.  Mr. Eshbaugh reported that in order to avoid problems, a separate card is provided for red diesel, biodiesel, and all fuels card.


5.      Update on Status of Starting an Independent Biodiesel Fueling Station (Informational Report and Discussion).

SPEAKERS:  Ms. Michelle Swiggers and Ms. Robin Gold


Ms. Swiggers reported that she and her partner Ms. Gold signed a lease for a property on 22nd and Pennsylvania on November 1 in order to create an independent B100 fueling retail station at that site.  It was stated that Member Jordan and People’s Fuel are assisting in permit processing with the Building, Fire, and Health Departments.  Ms. Swiggers reported that they are working on a variance at this time with the Department of Food and Agriculture.


Chair Bowen reported that it is illegal to sell B100 to the public in California because it is deemed an experimental fuel, and there is no standard for B100 and neat fuel.  The Department of Measurement Standards (DMS), a consumer protection agency that is part of the Department of Agriculture, regulates biodiesel to make sure that people are getting fuel that is not going to damage their engine.  Ms. Swiggers reported that she had been told there would be no reason to deny the variance based on the information provided.  DMS indicated that they would be doing on-site visits more often and would try to improve the quality and frequency of reporting from variance holders. Ms. Swiggers stated that they had been granted temporary variance usage from the Biofuels Board until their own was granted.


Member Ving asked Ms. Swiggers to document the process (narrative, links to forms) so other people who are interested in starting a B100 station are able to replicate the process.  Ms. Swiggers indicated that she is keeping a journal and would be happy to provide that information.  Member Jordan stated that having an additional scenario in his report would be beneficial.


Public Comment


Mr. Smith, Green Depot, stated that he is collecting data on different types of biofuel models. 


Mr. Eshbaugh inquired about the site location.  Ms. Swiggers stated that the location is 22nd and Pennsylvania, which is a sheet metal warehouse with a 2000-square foot open lot located across the street from MUNI.


6.      Update on Permitting Regulations for Biodiesel (Informational Report and Discussion) (Continued Discussion from the October 18, 2007 Meeting). 

SPEAKER:  Member Benjamin Jordan


Member Jordan reported that steps for permitting on different projects are different and unique to the site.  The following update was given: 


·         Rail handling and storage: LBRailco at the Port of San Francisco will be able to bring railcars of biodiesel to San Francisco over the next year or so, and there will be a set of operating procedures to describe handling of biodiesel railcars, loading and unloading.

·         Residential storage and handling guidelines will be available so people in small businesses that have fueling setups on site will know how they can handle biodiesel appropriately.

·         Specific fueling permits: 

Mobile fueling permit had been reviewed by the Fire Department as a diesel fuel and approved.  No modifications had been made for biodiesel.  That is directly related to the issue of the State Fire Marshall not providing a statement on the hazardous material classification of biodiesel.


38 Otis Street, a car repair shop that wants to have biodiesel for their customers that use biodiesel and be an access point for the SF Biofuels Cooperative at Van Ness and Mission—permit has been approved and ready for pickup.


Rainbow Grocery above ground tank in their back parking lot—permit was lost at the Fire Department’s One Stop unit that is no longer in business.  Calls have been made to determine how to proceed and may require a new application. 


7.      Hazardous Material Classification of Biodiesel (Discussion and Action) (Continued from the October 18, 2007 Meeting).

SPEAKER:  Member Virginia St. Jean


Member St. Jean reported that at the last meeting a discussion was held about creating a letter to the State Fire Marshall requesting a determination of hazardous material classification for biodiesel. Member St. Jean indicated that she had spoken to Member Ferry, and a decision was made not to send the letter because it may not produce the desired result.  It was stated that there would be a roundtable in January where all the regulatory staff (Federal EPA, California EPA, State Toxics, Water Board, Weights and Measures, local county emergency staff, etc.) would be attending and may be a better forum as everybody agrees it has to be less regulated.  Member St. Jean offered to have a dialogue with the State Fire Marshall and stated that she would be invited to the roundtable.  Member Jordan suggested that the letter be structured in order to offer the Task Force’s experience, guidance, and outreach in order to help with the determination.  Chair Bowen strongly encouraged that a constructive dialogue be held with the State Fire Marshall about future regulations in addition to a letter.  Member St. Jean stated that the local Fire Marshall is waiting for a state regulation as well.  Member Jordan offered to work with Members Ferry and St. Jean to reach out to the local Fire Marshall and to create a letter/dialogue with the State Fire Marshall.


Member Bali reported that the Fire Department had stalled their B20 implementation indefinitely, are using it in three of their tanks, but are not moving forward with further implementation.   


Public Comment:  Mr. Eric Smith stated that Chief Hayes White has a relationship with the state and also recommended her involvement.


Upon Motion by Chair Bowen and second by Member Jordan, it was approved that Member Jordan write a letter to the State Fire Marshall to open a dialogue and Member St. Jean would outreach to the local Fire Marshall (AYES:  Chair Bowen, Members Jordan and Hardy).  This item was continued to the December meeting for further discussion.


8.      Informational Report to the Board of Supervisors Update. Review and approval of Draft Sections of the Informational Report (Discussion and Possible Action) (Explanatory Document:  Biodiesel Task Force Outline) (Continued from the October 18, 2007 Meeting).

SPEAKER: Member Benjamin Jordan


Member Jordan proposed that a Draft Biodiesel Access Task Force Report be issued and submitted before the Task Force’s sunset date, to revise the report annually, and then do a final within the two-year sunset date.  This item was continued to the December meeting in order to vote to approve a final report. Chair Bowen asked to reschedule the December 20 meeting to December 13.  Members confirmed their availability and the meeting would be rescheduled.


Public Comment:  Mr. Smith asked whether the Task Force would actually submit the report to the Board of Supervisors at a public meeting.  Chair Bowen asked about the protocol for submitting a report.  The Task Force Secretary stated that reports are often times presented at the Board of Supervisors’ public meetings, but would check on protocol and report back. 


9.      Citywide Fleet Biodiesel Implementation Update (Informational Report and Discussion) (Continued Discussion from the October 18, 2007 Meeting).

SPEAKER: Member Vandana Bali


Member Bali reported that (1) the Fire Department stalled their implementation as reported earlier; (2) PUC, who does not have high diesel usage, would complete two of their four sites by the end of the year; and (3) the Port, that has 29 vehicles with diesel usage, has also stalled. Member Bali reported that by the end of the year, the City should be close to 100% biodiesel use, and she is in the process of working with the Mayor’s Office to hold an event.


Member Mellera reported that as of November 21, roughly 200,000 gallons of MUNI storage tanks will have been converted to B20.  That means all 540 buses, all 76 non-revenue diesel vehicles--everything with a diesel engine that operates for MUNI will be converted by next week.  Member Mellera reported that MUNI fuel storage that is now all B20 is also used for emergency fuel for any kind of disaster or emergency issues.  The Fire Department needs to be on board because they will need to bring any and all vehicles/emergency responders there.  Member Mellera recommended that this topic be included in discussions with the local Fire Department Chief.  Member St. Jean requested that a disclosure form be sent to the Department of Public Health.  Member Mellera reported that all tanks have been converted, and there have been no vehicle or facility issues or problems. It was stated that staff is completely supportive of the program. In addition, Member Mellera reported that (1) MUNI’s hybrid buses are running on biodiesel now; (2) the sister fleet in New York City had some fuel related issues that were solved by adding biodiesel as a lubricity additive; and (3) no failures have been reported and there is better reliability with biodiesel use.


Chair Bowen confirmed that San Francisco will be the largest transit fleet using biodiesel in the country.  Member Jordan stated as a result of the conversion to biodiesel, the City can begin calculating and quantifying the tons of emissions reduced.  Member Mellera stated that largely because of the hybrids, the average fleet fuel economy has gone up with the use of biodiesel, and through this conversion, the average fuel use has gone down. Member Bali reported that a discussion would be held on the City’s success at the January conference.


Public Comment:  Mr. Smith inquired about the conference location.  Member Bali reported that the conference would be held at Dominican University in San Rafael.


10.  Status Update on Building a Biodiesel Manufacturing Facility in San Francisco and Gonzales Biodiesel Manufacturing Facility Visit (Informational Report and Discussion) (Continued from the October 18, 2007 Meeting).

SPEAKER: Member Vandana Bali


Member Bali did not issue a report on this agenda item at this time and stated that it was in progress.


Public Comment:  Mr. Randall von Wedel reported that he had attended two technical fuel conferences where discussions were held about the need to revaluate fuel quality again.  It was stated that according to the experts in Europe, any recycled materials are going to have to be distilled and would result in a cost factor consideration f or evaluating uses of recycled cooking oil for biodiesel.


11.  Report on Extending the Task Force Sunset Date.  The Task Force will consider and vote to recommend a draft document to the Board of Supervisors outlining the work that the Task Force has completed from their original mandate, what work has yet to be completed, and any new initiatives the Task Force is considering (Explanatory Document:  Resolution Establishing the Task Force) (Discussion and Action) (Continued discussion from the October 18, 2007 Meeting).

SPEAKER: Chair Eric Bowen and Vice-Chair Adam Hagen


Items 3 and 11 were heard together.


Upon Motion by Member Jordan and second by Chair Bowen the Task Force approved a two-year extension, a seven-member Task Force, and for Chair Bowen to work with Supervisor McGoldrick on the list of accomplishments and duties for the Task Force. (AYES:  Chair Bowen, Members Hardy and Jordan) (Absent:  Vice-Chair Hagen).  See Item 4 for the expanded discussion.


The meeting adjourned at 11:35 a.m. before agenda Item 12 due to a lack of quorum.  Items 12-13 were continued as a result.


12.  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 (Discussion and Possible Action) (Continued Discussion from the October 18, 2007 Meeting).

SPEAKER:  Member Benjamin Jordan


This item was continued to the December meeting due to a lack of quorum.


13.  Update on the Biofuel Recycling Waste Cooking Oil Program (Informational Report and Discussion (Continued discussion from the October 18, 2007 Meeting).

SPEAKERS: Members Benjamin Jordan and Karri Ving


This item was continued to the December meeting due to a lack of quorum.


14.  New Business/Future Agenda Items (Information and Discussion).  There was no discussion on this item due to a lack of quorum.


15.  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 discussion on this item due to a lack of quorum.


16.  Adjournment.  The Biodesel Access Task Force meeting adjourned at 11:35 a.m. due to a lack of quorum.


** 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: March 6, 2008

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