04.09 Approved Minutes

 

CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO

BIODIESEL ACCESS TASK FORCE REGULAR MEETING

 

APPROVED MINUTES

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 9, 2008, 10:00 A.M.

 

CITY HALL, ROOM 278, ONE DR. CARLTON B. GOODLETT PLACE

SAN FRANCISCO, CA  94102  

 


TASK FORCE MEMBERS:  VOTING:  Eric Bowen, Joe Burgard, Kevin Clark, Adam Hagen, Benjamin Jordan, Eric Smith and Michele Swiggers. NON-VOTING: David Augustine (Treasurer/Tax Collector), Vandana Bali (Department of the Environment), Richard Berman (Port), Sarah Dennis (Planning Department), Mike Ferry (Fire Department), Laurence Kornfield (DBI), Vacant (MOCD), Marty Mellera (MTA), Virginia St. Jean (DPH), Karri Ving (PUC).

 

ORDER OF BUSINESS

 

1.      Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Biodiesel Access Task Force Meeting was called to order at 10:05 a.m.  Present:  Chair Bowen, Members Burgard, Clark, Hagen, Smith, Swiggers; Absent:  Members Dennis, Ferry, and Mellera. Excused: Members Augustine, Bali, Berman, Kornfield, Jordan, St. Jean and Ving. Mr. David Pascal introduced himself as the Department of Environment’s Clean Tech Green Business Manager and indicated that he and Member Bali would be sharing participation in Task Force meetings.

 

Introductions were made for (1) Mr. Jorge Villet, Senior Special Investigator, Division of Measurement Standards who stated that the Division addresses quality issues with petroleum products and grants variances for alternative and experimental fuels; and (2) Ms. Laurene Chiesa, Supervising Special Investigator, Division of Measurement Standards, stated that she has been working on reviewing and approving variances and is attending the meeting for informational purposes.

 

2.      Approval of the March 6, 2008 Biodiesel Access Task Force Special Meeting Draft Minutes (Explanatory Document:  March 6, 2008 Approved Minutes) (Discussion and Action).  Upon Motion by Vice-Chair Hagen and second by Member Burgard, the March 6, 2008 meeting minutes were approved without objection (Absent:  Member Jordan).

 

3.      Status of Dogpatch Biofuels Plans submitted to City and County Offices (Continued Discussion from the March 6, 2008 Meeting) (Discussion).

 

Member Swiggers reported that plans were submitted to the Planning Department about two weeks ago and are presently with the Planning Commission.  Member Swiggers indicated that she has been speaking with Member Dennis who has offered her assistance with any issues, but has not heard any comments from the planner reviewing the plans.  The Environmental Review Section is considering whether or not a categorical exemption from environmental review should be filed.  It was reported that a meeting was held with the Dogpatch Neighborhood Association who has been supportive.

 

Chair Bowen inquired about the length of time required to receive plan approvals.  Member Swiggers stated that she is hoping that it won’t take longer than the end of this week to get the plans through Planning, another week for Building, and another two weeks for the Fire Department. Member Swiggers would then be working with Member St. Jean from the Department of Public Health to address containment issues.  Once building permits are approved, construction will begin and that should take about three weeks. Member Swiggers also reported that she is working with the Department of Measurement Standards on variance approval which she was told would be approved.

 

Mr. David Pascal, Clean Tech Green Business Manager, Department of the Environment, inquired about the project’s capacity and storage requirements.  Member Swiggers reported that Dogpatch Fuels would be installing an 8,000-gallon above ground tank and would be dispensing about 1000 gallons a day, the fuel would be stored just for retail distribution, and the fuel supply would be purchased from other sources.  Chair Bowen stated that Dogpatch Fuels would be operating similarly to Biofuels Oasis in Berkeley. Member Swiggers reported that customers would be able to purchase fuel only when the station is fully staffed and would have to join a user group.

 

4.      Biodiesel Access Task Force Major Goals and Initiatives for 2008—Prioritization of Goals and Recommendations for Action Steps (Continued Discussion from the March 6, 2008 Meeting) (Discussion and Possible Action).

 

Task Force Members discussed major goals and initiatives and identified Task Force members to work on each goal.

 

·        Work on a definition of sustainability for incorporation into the City’s next fuel contract that would involve getting engaged with the Purchasing office--the focus would be on quality and reliability of supply in addition to sustainability.  Purchasing staff would be invited to work with the Task Force on the next fuel contract. 

 

Task Force Member Assignment:  Member Swiggers.

Chair Bowen indicated that this item would involve outreach to the City of Portland, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Biodiesel Board’s Sustainability Committee, and the Purchasing Office.    Chair Bowen indicated that Member Mellera would be asked to help the Task Force stay focused on MUNI’s concerns on quality and reliability as part of the overall evaluation of sustainability. Mr. Pascal stated there could be some urgency with this item as the Master Fuel Contract is scheduled for renewal in January, and recommended that the Task Force prepare language to be incorporated into the contract for the City Attorneys review as soon as possible.  Mr. Pascal reported that the Department of the Environment would like to prepare an ordinance or guiding statement about sustainable fuel, source and production and stated that Member Bali would be the point person to submit language to.

     

·        Tank compatibility issues. This item was tabled.

 

·        Develop fuel sources for the City—outreach for sustainable supply of biodiesel. 

 

Task Force Member Assignment: Member Swiggers. Member Smith indicated that this goal would address other variables such as consistency, reliability, and keeping MUNI and the City’s fleet functioning properly.

 

·        Permitting Regulations.  Task Force Member Assignment: Member Jordan. 

 

·        Coordination activities for the National Biodiesel Conference in February 2009. It was explained that Task Force Member Bali had previously volunteered to work on this goal. 

 

·        Influence policies regarding school buses.  Task Force Member Assignment: Member Bali and Vice-Chair Hagen.

 

·        Reach out to trucker community especially in the Bayview Hunters Point community about the availability of biodiesel, health benefits, City regulations, purchasing and dispensing options. Member Smith reported that he is currently working on this goal as part of the Green Depot program to (1) compile a database of truckers in Bayview, (2) a database of all SF Petroleum and Olympian fleets, (3) outreach to LB Railco now known as SF Bay Railyard and the Bayview Truckers Association; (4) create trucker workshops; (5) communicating that in March 2009, the Green Public Works Ordinance will be effect that requires anyone that is doing public works for San Francisco for more than 20 days and is using a diesel vehicle would either have to use B20 or have a particulate matter trap installed.  This goal was determined to be a Green Depot goal.

 

·        Biodiesel Production facility. Assignment:  Mr. David Pascal. Mr. Pascal reported that in addition to small grassroots efforts underway, there is a push to implement something of a large enough scale to meet municipal fleet demands and if there is surplus production to make it available for retail or provide for other municipalities in the surrounding area. Mr. Pascal reported on options that were being pursued: (1) San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (PUC) consideration of a municipalized option to build a yellow grease facility along with a brown grease facility; (2) relying on surrounding biodiesel production that is existing and is not fully utilized; and (3) PUC bringing in a third party to partner with; e.g. Darling or another potential partner.  It was explained that an analysis would be worked on to explore what the critical path and timeline is for each option, what the cost implications are for the City, and review what funding sources might be available to the PUC as a municipal agency.  One of the options discussed was for Darling to add biodiesel production to their existing rendering facility. It was explained that substantial proposals would be available in the next couple of months, and members were asked to offer their expertise to Members Ving and Jordan who would be working on the PUC’s proposal.  Once both proposals are made available all stakeholders (Mayor, PUC and PORT leadership) will make the decisions.  Mr. Pascal stated that he would bring proposals for the Task Force’s review to the June meeting and asked members to provide policy recommendations.

 

·        Recommend mandate for all gas stations to offer some form of alternative fuel for public access as a future policy statement.  Task Force Member Assignment: Vice-Chair Hagen the lead with Member Smith’s assistance.

 

·        Scale the residential parking permits on the carbon impact of a vehicle, to make it revenue neutral to the Parking Department and allocate additional fees into a fund for development of a City renewable fuel infrastructure in the City and to promote all of the activities around making clean renewable fuel more accessible.  Vice-Chair Hagen was assigned to this item as a second-tier goal.

 

·        Public relation marketing outreach primarily to create more of a City biodiesel proto-site webpage that would include contacts, phone numbers, and a page that starts to collect more information. Task Force Member Assignment: Vice-Chair Hagen and Member Smith.

                 

Chair Bowen recommended that between now and the next meeting, the lead member should put together a couple of bullet points or one page on the scope of the project, required elements, and timing to review for the next meeting in June.

 

5.      Status Report on Recommendations to the Board of Supervisors on Incentives and Other Measures that the Task Force should take to Promote Biodiesel.  Review and approval of draft letters to send to the Fire Department and other City agencies recommending fee waivers. (Discussion and Action) (Continued discussion from the March 6, 2008 Meeting).

SPEAKERS: Members Bowen and Jordan

 

Continued to the June 11 meeting.

 

6.      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 March 6, 2008 Meeting).   

SPEAKERS:  Members Bowen and Smith

 

Ms. Laurene Chiesa, Supervising Special Investigator, Division of Measurement Standards reported that historically, in California, that in order to sell fuel, it has to meet ASTM standards and so when biodiesel and alternative fuels were introduced, no standard had been established. The state came up with a variance process to allow a product to be sold that did not meet specifications. It was explained that there are currently 47 variance holders throughout the state for mainly biodiesel, and ten applications pending.  There are specifications in place for ethanol, but not for biodiesel.  Ms. Chiesa explained that another issue is that there are no devices in the market that are type approved to dispense levels above B20 in part because companies have not submitted their devices for evaluation.  The state can’t require that companies submit their devices fore evaluation, but have recommended that they do.  Ms. Chiesa asked the Task Force to assist in this effort. It is not known whether devices would fail because DMS has not had an opportunity to evaluate.  This presents an issue because a couple of those locations that are selling high concentrations of B99 have been shut down because the dispensers were not type approved. 

 

Ms. Chiesa reported that DMS is discussing the possibly of relaxing the standards for regular diesel fuel so that some of these higher concentrations would be able to meet the standard to be sold.  It was reported that during the course of compliance oversight, there is a lot of misinformation with the variance holders and the public, and it was not realized that there was that much confusion.  Ms. Chiesa stated that DMS is in the process of collecting data, reviewing bill analysis, working on writing a regulation proposal, and hoping that legislation would make it so variances are no longer required.  Task Force members were asked to help in developing proposal recommendations.  Ms. Chiesa reported that ASTM is not close to establishing a standard for anything above B20 and it may be years before they do.

 

Chair Bowen stated that equipment manufacturers had reported that it is very expensive to go through the dispenser approval process and the volume of equipment that they could sell does not justify the expense. Ms. Chiesa stated that since dispensers have already been approved, it is not recreating the wheel, and because biodiesel is already in a family of products of a type approved, it may not be as expensive as starting from the beginning on creating a new device.  Mr. Jorge Villet indicated that there are devices that had been approved but underwriting laboratories have not issued their approval because certain types of oil cause seal problems. Ms. Chiesa stated that several station owners have found when trying to convert their tanks to biodiesel, they don’t have a market and it is more cost effective to sell diesel #2.  Ms. Chiesa stated that because the underwriters’ laboratory would not approve the device because of the seals issue and inability to acquire insurance, nobody wanted to pursue.

 

Public Comment: Mr. Randall von Wedel recommended that DMS be made aware of the progress that has been made nationally and reported on the many studies that have been completed to address issues that had been raised.

 

Member Smith reported that Green Depot is continuing their outreach to truckers.  It was stated that LB Railco has been testing ultra low sulfur diesel, B50, and B100 on their railcars and providing help with trucker workshops in order to influence more of the Bayview truckers to use biodiesel.  Member Smith indicated that LB Railco has received several of the Carl Moyer grants for equipment and is working on permits and variances so that railcars are able to bring biodiesel into San Francisco.

 

7.      Update on Permitting Regulations for Biodiesel (Informational Report and Discussion) (Continued Discussion from the March 6, 2008 Meeting). 

SPEAKER:  Member Jordan

Continued to the June 11, 2008 meeting.

 

8.      Hazardous Material Classification of Biodiesel (Discussion and Action) (Continued from the March 6, 2008 Meeting).

SPEAKER:  Member St. Jean

Continued to the June 11, 2008 meeting.

 

9.      Informational Report to the Board of Supervisors Update. Review and approval of Draft of Final Report to the Board of Supervisors (Discussion and Action) (Explanatory Document:  Draft Final Report) (Continued from the March 6, 2008 Meeting).

SPEAKER: Member Jordan

Continued to the June 11, 2008 meeting.

10.  Update on the Biofuel Recycling Waste Cooking Oil Program (Informational Report and Discussion (Continued discussion from the March 6, 2008 Meeting).

SPEAKERS: Members Jordan and Ving

 

Chair Bowen asked for a report from Mr. von Wedel.

 

Public Comment:  Mr. von Wedel reported there are over 225 restaurants participating, representing approximately 1/8 of the City’s restaurants. It was stated that Member Jordan’s engineering programs are moving forward, and the City has identified a site for the transfer station within the complex of the waste water treatment plant. Draft drawings have been completed and it is projected that there will be ample storage and facilities to process all of the available cooking oil that will be collected.  Mr. von Wedel reported that SFPUC identified the physical buildings, equipment and infrastructure, and access to the SFPUC lab has been provided in order to establish preliminary screening methods to evaluate the quality of the cooking oil so that it can be segregated towards either biodiesel or other biofuel. 

 

Vice-Chair Hagen asked if restaurants are being charged to participate in the program.  Mr. von Wedel explained that there was no charge. Vice-Chair Hagen asked if more outreach and marketing should be done so that more restaurants would participate. Mr. von Wedel explained that in order to match the City’s program, major vendors are now also collecting grease for free so that is part of the reason that more restaurants are not participating at this time. Chair Bowen stated that many restaurants are under existing contracts for year long terms and may be prohibited from joining the program for a certain amount of time.  Mr. von Wedel reported on the press release that was issued the day before Thanksgiving to collect grease, fats, and oils from restaurants in order to turn them into biofuel for City vehicles, and that since then outreach had been contracted to a public relations firm that is going well. 

 

Mr. von Wedel reported that he recently visited one of the local biodiesel production plants who is interested in receiving the grease for production of biodiesel. It was explained that the quality of the biodiesel produced at that plant looks very good and he is more encouraged about the City’s long-term use of locally- produced biodiesel, as the infrastructure and  the wherewithal to produce high quality ASTM grade biodiesel from at least blends if not directly pure recycled material looks very good. It was stated that six months ago that was not the case, but at this point the plant he visited would have the ability to make good quality fuel and compete with imported less sustainable fuels from around the country.

 

Member Smith reported that Member Ving has been on television promoting the SFGreasecycle program, the Chronicle has featured a full page notice, there was a pilot before the holidays where residents could bring their turkey grease to Costco so that grease could be recycled for production of biodiesel for the City’s fleet, and there is also a website on the program http://www.sfgreasecycle.org/.

   

11.  New Business/Future Agenda Items (Information and Discussion).  There was no new business or future agenda items discussed at this time.

 

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 11:32 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 Monica.Fish@sfgov.org, or (3) on the meeting website as attachments to the agendas or meeting minutes.  
 

Approved:   August 13, 2008

 

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