12.10 Approved Minutes

 

 

CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO

BIODIESEL ACCESS TASK FORCE REGULAR MEETING

 

APPROVED MINUTES

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 10, 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, Benjamin Jordan, Eric Smith and Michele Swiggers (One Vacant). 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 convened at 10:15 a.m.  Present Voting:  Chair Bowen, Members Burgard, Jordan, and Smith; Excused:  Members Clark and Swiggers. Advisory Members Present: Members Ferry, St. Jean and Ving.  Advisory Members Absent:  Members Bali, Berman; Dennis, and Mellera. Advisory Members Excused: Members Augustine and Kornfield.

 

2.      Approval of the October 8, 2008 Biodiesel Access Task Force Regular Meeting Draft Minutes.  (Discussion and Action) Ms. Fish reported that the agenda language should be corrected to state October 8 “Regular” Meeting Draft Minutes and not “Special.”  Upon Motion by Member Burgard and second by Member Smith, the October 8, 2008 Regular Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES: Chair Bowen, Members Burgard, Jordan, and Smith; Absent:  Members Clark and Swiggers) (Explanatory Document: October 8, 2008 Approved Minutes).

 

3.      Election of Task Force Vice-Chair. (Discussion and Action)  Chair Bowen nominated Member Smith for Vice-Chair.  Member Smith accepted the nomination.  Upon Motion by Chair Bowen and second by Member Burgard, Member Smith was elected as Task Force Vice Chair without objection (AYES:  Chair Bowen, Members Burgard, Jordan and Smith; Absent:  Members Clark and Swiggers). 

 

4.      Status of Dogpatch Biofuels Plans submitted to City and County Offices. (Continued Discussion from the October 8, 2008 Meeting) (Discussion) Member Smith reported that Dogpatch Biofuels located at the corner of 22nd and Pennsyvlania Streets has completed their permitting phase, looks fabulous, and is due to open in a week or two.  Member Smith indicated that he would work with Member Swiggers and her business partner Ms. Gold on a press release to announce their official opening once the date has been set.  Member Jordan inquired about issuing a Task Force press release.  Chair Bowen reported that a commendation letter would be issued once Dogpatch Biofuels officially opens for business. 

 

5.      Proposal to Create a B20 Mandate in San Francisco. (Continued Discussion from the October 8, 2008 Meeting) (Discussion)  Member Smith reported that he and Chair Bowen met with Mr. Wade Crowfoot of the Mayor’s Office to discuss the potential for a B5/B20 mandate, and they expressed enthusiasm over this prospect.  The Mayor’s Office asked that the Task Force reach out to Board of Supervisors members to assess interest in sponsoring the mandate.  Chair Bowen met with Supervisor Mirkarimi who was supportive of plans and legislation that might be crafted to move the mandate forward.  Subsequent conversations were held with incoming Supervisors as well as current Supervisor McGoldrick, who were supportive and wanted to meet with Chair Bowen and others to discuss how to proceed.  Member Smith reported that he is looking forward to submitting legislation to the Supervisors sometime next year, and that Supervisor Mirkarimi and the Mayor’s Office would be taking the lead in this effort.  Chair Bowen reported that Mr. Crowfoot had reached out to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and inquired whether Mr. Olof Hansen of the U.S. EPA could provide information on whether the EPA would support such a mandate. 

 

Mr. Hansen reported that the West Coast Collaborative held a meeting approximately two weeks ago in Seattle where the Portland Ordinance was introduced, and there was a mention that San Francisco was thinking of crafting a similar Ordinance. It was explained that the West Coast Collaborative’ goal is to reduce diesel emissions on the West Coast.  Mr. Hansen inquired if the proposed ordinance language contains a definition of sustainability and feedstock types. Member Smith reported that the Mayor’s Office and Supervisors that were spoken to understand that San Francisco wants to move toward a sustainable feedstock. Member Smith reported that he and Chair Bowen reviewed biodiesel price fluctuations and would like to start where Portland started, first with B5, and a B20 implementation date to be determined at a later time.  Member Smith discussed the Port’s negotiations with Darling International on building a biodiesel manufacturing plant, and explained that the Port wants to make sure that Darling reaches their benchmarks and does what they are supposed to do in terms of sustainability, environmental justice issues, and green jobs.  

 

Chair Bowen reported that sustainability definitions are being considered by the Mayor’s Office, the Department of the Environment, and by this Task Force.  It was explained that this Task Force has discussed several times what sustainability position it should recommend to the Contracting Office to use in the City’s next fuel contract, but there has not been a unified definition identified as of yet.  Chair Bowen inquired if the EPA has recommendations on appropriate sustainability language to incorporate into the B5/B20 Ordinance.

 

Mr. Hansen reported that the EPA was involved in defining the sustainability criteria that the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance (SBA) adopted and recommended that San Francisco review whether this criteria works and do a field test.  Mr. Hansen inquired whether San Francisco has exclusion language similar to Portland’s on not allowing imported palm oil in feedstock. Chair Bowen explained that the ordinance is in the beginning stage and the City Attorney’s office would be preparing a draft.  It was explained that discussions on palm oil have concluded that there should be a neutral sustainability definition. Member Smith reported that Supervisor Mirkarimi would like to see Chair Bowen and himself create a Draft Ordinance that the City Attorney could review, send back for revisions, and then involve the Mayor’s Office, with EPA’s input to craft an ordinance with recommendations on sustainability and on the Master Fuel Contract.  Member Burgard inquired whether Portland’s Ordinance could be used as a basis for a draft.  Member Smith reported that the Mayor’s Office has been reviewing the Portland Ordinance in order to apply Portland’s experiences to San Francisco; however, Portland had different challenges than San Francisco.

 

Public Comment:  Ms. Shannon Devine inquired whether there is public access to the Port’s contract with Darling International.  Member Smith reported that he believes there will be a public record in the future but not at this time. Chair Bowen stated that Ms. Devine could issue a public information request to review the existing lease. 

 

Unidentified Speaker inquired about the contract language and the amount of diesel sold in the city that it would affect.  Member Smith reported that Darling’s plans are to manufacture 7-10 million gallons annually, which the City would probably use 3 to 5 million gallons of.  That amount would probably be enough for MUNI, the City fleet, and the Port, and it is assumed that Darling would sell the remaining biodiesel in the open market or locally.  Chair Bowen stated that an analysis had been done of all of the gas stations in the City that sell diesel and that volume information was not attainable, but it is assumed it is not a huge number.  Member Smith reported that he was tasked with supplying a list to the Department of the Environment on all known diesel vehicles, operators and stations. It was explained that there are only two dozen or so retailers that sell diesel in San Francisco.  

 

Unidentified Speaker inquired whether this mandate would affect only those two dozen retailers.  Member Smith explained that Portland’s mandate only addressed diesel stations within the city limits of Portland, and they had to offer a blend of B5 or higher.  Member Smith stated that after discussions with the Mayor’s Office and Supervisor Mirkarimi, it was understood that the price of biodiesel was in flux and since B5 was affordable and closer to the cost of petroleum diesel, it would be a good starting point.  Chair Bowen reported that the people affected by the mandate would be gas station owners and distributors that bring fuel to the gas station. Portland’s approach was to get the legislation in place, convene an impacted party and stakeholders group, work through all the issues, and implement it.  In Portland’s case it was far more complicated as there were multiple terminals and more gas stations effected.  Because the San Francisco diesel market is relatively tame, it is believed that the first phase would be simple.  The idea would be to start with B5 and go to B20 when you feel the infrastructure and technology is in place, which could be two to five years from now. 

 

Unidentified Speaker inquired whether the diesel retailers had been contacted.  Members Smith and Ving stated no.  Chair Bowen explained that they chose not to convene a stakeholders group prior to the Ordinance being drafted. Member Smith explained that he had contacted all of the diesel stations in the Bayview/Potrero neighborhoods about their willingness to sell biodiesel, and in their responses, it was concluded that some did have the capacity, and others were franchises that were concerned with what their home office would say.  Member Smith explained that all of the diesel engine manufacturers would cover warranties for B5 use which makes B5 a viable solution, and some would extend their warranty to B20 use.  Member Ving explained that going to B5 would be a start.                

 

6.      Master Fuel Contract. Recommendation to the Office of Contract Administration that the City adopts a definition for fuel sustainability and includes sustainable fuel sources in their Master Fuel Contract. (Continued Discussion from the October 8, 2008 Meeting) (Discussion)  Member Smith reported that on December 9th, the Board of Supervisors voted to increase the Master Fuel Contract amount to Golden Gate Petroleum from less than $10 million to not to exceed $20 million. Member Jordan confirmed that the decision applies to the current 2006-09 contract.

 

Member Jordan reported on information he had provided to Contract Administration staff, fleet managers, and MUNI representative Member Mellera on considerations for a new contract that include establishing biodiesel quality and sustainability criteria; defining goals; concern regarding the lack of bidders and competitive cost criteria; recommendations on contractor bidding, delivery, and reporting requirements; training of existing City personnel and/or hiring biodiesel technical consultants to help the City navigate their bio-energy programs, to implement quality assurance/testing programs, to review bid submittals, and audit vendors’ performance, etc.   Member Jordan discussed the questionnaire that he provided input into for bidders to the Request for Proposals.  Chair Bowen recommended revisiting the City’s requirement for a three-year contract and discussed the benefits of San Jose’s contracts that are one-three week contracts that vary from one biofuel distributor to the other.  It was explained that would be a method for keeping the distributors honest.

Member St. Jean inquired about the location of Golden Gate Petroleum’s distribution point.  Member Jordan stated that the Master Fuel Contract does not require a City distribution point.  Member St. Jean asked whether the Task Force could vote on contract terms.  Member Jordan stated that the contract is open for input.  Member St. Jean stated that a much shorter contract would be better in order to enforce strong compliance mandates.  Members Jordan and St. Jean suggested crafting environmental compliance level ratings for evaluating bidders/facilities within City limits.  Chair Bowen recommended adding broad statements to the contract about environmental and safety compliance that would state that if the facility was not maintained, the contract could be revoked.  Member St. Jean indicated that the level of environmental compliance would have to be defined and offered to create a template.

 

Mr. Hansen discussed an EPA online tool called Environmental Compliance History Online (ECHO) that is multimedia that allows you to look at a company, determine if violations were detected, enforcement action, and environmental compliance history http://www.epa-echo.gov/echo/.    

 

7.      Update on the Status of the Biodiesel Manufacturing Plant in San Francisco. (Continued Discussion from the October 8, 2008 Meeting) SPEAKER:  Mr. Eric Smith

 

Member Smith reported that he and Port Member Berman are two main advocates of this program and attend regular meetings with the Port to provide information on biodiesel and how to proceed.  Member Smith explained that he reports to the Port on how the Darling International facility would relate to the railyard, how it would affect the Bayview neighborhood, and on environmental justice issues, e.g., implementing green jobs.  It was explained that the Port expects the biodiesel plant to be built by December 2009 and has added specifications to the contract that Darling has to adhere to.  Member Smith reported that he would provide additional information as it becomes available.  

 

8.      Status Report on Discussions with Gas Stations on the Prospect of Selling Biodiesel to Individual Consumers and Green Depot Program Report. (Continued Discussion from the October 8. 2008 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion) SPEAKERS:  Members Bowen and Smith

 

Member Smith reported that Green Depot has completed its grant cycle with the Department of the Environment and is moving forward to enter into its next phase of environmental green jobs along with the Biofuel Recycling Cooperative and GreaseCycle.  Member Smith reported that Dogpatch Biofuels will be opening imminently and that he would be aiding Rainbow Grocery in its efforts to implement a biodiesel pump.  It was explained that Incredible Adventures and the Department of the Environment have indicated their willingness to contribute funding to this pump.  Member Jordan is still working on trying to implement the pump at Rainbow and has a certain figure in mind as to what it would take for implementation. It was explained that there is mobile fueling at Rainbow Grocery. Member Smith reported that San Francisco Biofuel Cooperative has eliminated their fleet car program with San Francisco Petroleum for a variety of reasons. It was reported that San Francisco Petroleum was not as diligent with their testing of biodiesel as they should have been and several coop members experienced engine trouble due to the poor quality of the fuel.  San Francisco Biofuels Cooperative took a vote and decided that they could not continue on promoting fuel that was not tested and did not meet ASTM standards and alerted members and the public to discontinue their use of fuel at San Francisco Petroleum. San Francisco Petroleum still has B100, but he does not know their plans for continuing. 

 

Member St. Jean inquired about the status of 38 Otis Street and Incredible Adventures future plans.  Member Jordan reported that 38 Otis permits were approved in November 2007, but the issue was the expensive infrastructure costs to implement that particular project.  Member St. Jean reported that she had heard about three weeks ago that Fire Department permits were not issued.  Member Jordan stated that was not the case for 38 Otis Street as it is a fully permitted station.  Incredible Adventures is stalled at the Fire Department in permits for storage of biodiesel. Issues include distance from property line and tank material, both of which are a flammability concern.  It was explained that Fire Department regulations are unnecessarily restrictive for pure biodiesel.  Member Jordan indicated that he had spoken with a Fire Department Inspector who requested that the Task Force issue a letter to Chief Hayes-White to create a San Francisco Fire Department Biodiesel Working Group to review the codes.  Task Force approval of the letter would be on the February 11th meeting agenda.  Chair Bowen explained that San Francisco activities at this time only consist of Dogpatch BioFuels and mobile fueling.      

 

9.      Hazardous Material Classification of Biodiesel. (Continued from the October 8, 2008 Meeting) (Discussion) SPEAKER:  Member St. Jean

 

Member St. Jean stated that HAZMAT agencies were supposed to receive a guidance letter from the State Water Board on how to proceed, but it has not been received due to budget issues at the state.  The letter is expected to be received in January of 2009.  Member St. Jean reported that she had attended the Underground Storage Tank Roundtable, and there was consensus that the State Water Board is not going to pick up any liability for tanks failing. The consensus is that single wall underground tanks for biofuels are going to be pulled out of the possibility, and there is probably going to be emergency legislation allowing double wall systems for biofuel underground—they are still working out the details.  No other direction has been issued.  Member St. Jean discussed relationships between the local Certified Unified Program Agencies (CUPAs) and the State Water Board on this issue.  These are local agencies authorized by the State of California to regulate and enforce environmental regulations at the local level based on criteria that the state and federal agencies approve. 

 

Member St. Jean recommended that the Task Force discuss ideas on how to help MUNI deal with this issue as they have two underground tanks that are both single-walled.  It was suggested that the group consider asking the Mayor’s Office to help by providing funding so MUNI could fuel from a different location or fuel out of aboveground tanks.  Chair Bowen reported that MUNI would have to find it in their budget if there is a general policy to remove the tanks out of California.  It is old technology and needs to be replaced so the City has to plan for that. 

 

Chair Bowen stated that one of the solutions being proposed to the Water Board is to approve these tanks on a case-by-case basis for a period of time if an operator can demonstrate material compatibility with no risk of leakage.  Member St. Jean stated that very few CUPAs would make a determination that the single walled tank is sound because of liability issues, and third-party certifiers would have to do local compatibility studies.  Member St. Jean reported that the Water Board tried to do surveys on who is using tanks, what jurisdictions, and the number of underground biofuel tanks.  It was explained that the Water Board was going to ask the CUPAs to do formal enforcement, and the head of CUPA’s sent a letter to the Water Board discussing some of these issues and requesting guidance.  Member Jordan suggested that the City go through compatibility assessments for one or all of their tanks and provide results to the state and nationally.  Member St. Jean stated that should have been done before material went into those tanks and should demonstrate the soundness of a system as they do not have a third party certifier as of yet. 

 

Member Jordan suggested that the Task Force recommend that the Office of Contract Administration request that a City agency with bioenergy/biofuel expertise contract technical experts or employ city- trained personnel to form an analysis on some or all the tanks with the Task Force’s assistance.  This analysis report could then be made available to the Water Board and to the CUPAs.  Member Jordan inquired whether the Task Force should make this recommendation to the Board of Supervisors, Department of Public Health, and the Public Utilities Commission.  Member St. Jean stated that it would depend on what the Water Board’s guidance report says in January as it may be that the Water Board might be paying for these types of compatibility studies.   Member St. Jean recommended doing a tank history on each biodiesel fuel tank in San Francisco, and creating a profile for each tank.  Chair Bowen reported that Member Bali has allocated 50% of her time to biodiesel and that this discussion should be held at the fleet manager’s group meetings, and suggested following up with Member Bali on when the next meeting would be held.  Member St. Jean recommended that Member Bali assist MUNI with the tank conversion and then review compatibility systems for double-walled tanks.  

 

Public Comment:  Mr. von Wedel reported that the Fire Department had insisted that Disneyland withdraw all of their biodiesel containing fuel from their underground storage tanks.  Fortunately, Disneyland was adamant about retaining their program so they were able to attain permits to use mobile fueling to continue operating their steam trains.  Mr. von Wedel suggested that the Task Force or community members offer technical support to address the Water Board’s concerns, e.g., submit item by item rebuttals or provide reference to articles.   

 

10.  Update on the Biofuel Recycling Waste Cooking Oil Program. (Continued from the October 8, 2008 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion) SPEAKERS: Members Jordan and Ving

 

Member Ving reported that the biofuel recycling waste cooking oil program is going into a robust residential program in addition to a commercial program.  There was a positive participation in post-Thanksgiving holiday drop off at all of the Costco’s and Whole Foods across the City.  Over 1000 very tiny containers with about 450 gallons of oil were collected.  The same collection and five day drop-off would be done after Christmas at the same locations. The program would be advertised on buses and trains.

 

Public Comment:  Ms. Devine inquired about the total collection.  Member Ving stated around 20,000 a month from tiny producers, mom and pop restaurants and big-household efforts.  It was explained that the amount is not significant, but the participation is amazing. 

 

11.  New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information and Discussion)   Member Smith congratulated Ms. Shannon Devine who pending approval by the Board of Supervisors would be appointed as an official member of the Task Force.  Member Ving stated that the National Biodiesel Board Conference coming up in February needs more of a presence from the Task Force, which is the only Biodiesel Task Force in any city.  Member Smith reported that he was interviewed by Biodiesel Magazine yesterday and provided information on current events, cost of biodiesel, its future in San Francisco, Water Board issues, the GreaseCycle program, Green Depot, BRC, efforts of TF members and Mr. von Wedel, etc.  Member Smith reported that Mr. Silverstein of Thirsty Bear is opening his door for two different events in February, one which is a sustainable biodiesel event.

 

Public Comment:  Mr. von Wedel discussed upcoming biodiesel events and discussed the opportunity for the City and Task Force to showcase its progress.  It was explained that the quality of biodiesel that the City has been buying has been consistently good for the last four rail cars and is being monitored.  Mr. von Wedel reported on a new biodiesel plant that is up and running, Community Fuels in Stockton that he had visited.  They are using their fuel for other applications right now, it is not being sold as ASTM fuel yet, but hopes that by the New Year, it will be up and running, which is encouraging for regional biodiesel groups and the community.  Mr. von Wedel stated that he hopes there will be language in the fuel contract that will reflect opportunities for facilities such as these to participate.

 

Member Burgard reported that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) is going to do an emissions test on February 23rd on one of their boats with the newest EPA engines.

 

Ms. Fish inquired about the fee letters for signature.  Member Jordan reported that he would scan the signed letters and send me a copy for inclusion into public record.  Ms. Fish reported that the next Biodiesel Access Task Force meeting would be scheduled for February 11th.

 

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 12:06 p.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:   February 11, 2009

 

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