CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO
BIODIESEL ACCESS TASK FORCE REGULAR MEETING
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2009, 10:00 A.M.
CITY HALL, ROOM 278, ONE DR. CARLTON B. GOODLETT PLACE,
SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94102
TASK FORCE MEMBERS: VOTING: Eric Bowen (Chair), Eric Smith (Vice-Chair), Joe Burgard, Kevin Clark, Shannon Devine, Benjamin Jordan, 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 convened at 10:10 a.m. Voting Members Present: Vice-Chair Smith, Members Clark, Devine, Jordan, and Swiggers; Voting Members Excused: Chair Bowen and Member Burgard. Advisory Members Present: Member Mellera; Advisory Members Excused: Members Augustine, Bali, Ferry, Kornfield, St. Jean, and Ving; Advisory Members Absent: Members Berman and Dennis.
2. Approval of the December 10, 2008 Biodiesel Access Task Force Regular Meeting Draft Minutes. (Discussion and Action) Upon Motion by Member Smith and second by Member Jordan, the December 10, 2008 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (Absent: Chair Bowen and Member Burgard) (Explanatory Document: December 10, 2008 Approved Minutes).
3. Status of Dogpatch Biofuels Plans submitted to City and County Offices. (Continued Discussion from the December 10, 2008 Meeting) (Discussion) Speaker: Member Swiggers
Member Swiggers reported that Dogpatch Biofuels is open for business and all plans have been approved. It was stated that 150 people have signed up to date and positive feedback is being heard about the availability of a station with regular hours. Approximately 250 gallons a day are being sold and the target is to sell 1000 gallons a day within a year. Member Swiggers reported that there are four fleets that they are doing business with now and outreach strategies are being discussed to sign on additional fleets and small businesses. Member Swiggers reported on issues with certifying their dispensers that are not type-approved, and Member Jordan provided recommendations on approved meters for dispensers and on grant opportunities to upgrade equipment. Member Swiggers stated that the Department of Measurement Standards has issued a 90-day temporary operating permit and an effort is being made to certify dispensers.
4. Dogpatch Biofuels Commendation Letter. (Discussion and Action) (Explanatory Document: Commendation Letter) Vice-Chair Smith congratulated Dogpatch Biofuels and reported that a commendation letter had been written that the Task Force reviewed at their December meeting and now awaits the Chair’s signature. Upon Motion by Vice-Chair Smith and second by Member Devine, the commendation letter to Dogpatch Biofuels was approved without objection (Absent: Chair Bowen and Member Burgard)
5. Approval of Letter to the San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD) Requesting a Biodiesel Permit Working Group. (Explanatory Document: SFFD Letter received in Task Force Meeting) (Discussion and Action) Speaker: Member Jordan
Member Jordan reported on the proposal to issue a letter to the San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD) and a similar letter to the Department of Building Inspection (DBI) to start a biodiesel permit working group to provide guidance on biodiesel and alternative fuel permitting, biodiesel storage questions, and code interpretations. Member Jordan reported that signed letters to the Fire Department and DBI asking for retroactive fee waivers were also just issued. Upon Motion by Vice-Chair Smith and second by Member Devine, a letter to the San Francisco Fire Department and creating a similar letter to the Department of Building Inspection to request a biodiesel permit working group were approved without objection (Absent: Chair Bowen and Member Burgard).
6. Proposal to Create a B20 Mandate in San Francisco. (Continued Discussion from the December 10, 2008 Meeting) (Discussion)
Vice-Chair Smith reported that a proposal is being crafted to present to the Mayor’s Office and Supervisor Mirkarimi who has agreed to be a co-sponsor, and additional information would be provided at the next meeting. Vice-Chair Smith indicated that instituting a B20 mandate may be expensive so the plan is to start with a B5 mandate with a B20 goal at a point to be determined. Portland and other jurisdiction’s mandates are being reviewed and discussions are being held with the City Attorney’s Office on how to structure legislation specific to San Francisco. Task Force members discussed underground storage tank issues, the small quantity of available diesel dispensing stations in San Francisco, and quality and sustainability priorities that should be added to the proposal. Member Mellera stated that larger distributors would tend to provide a quality product, so that sustainability could then be considered as a priority. Member Jordan suggested crafting the mandate to assure quality by articulating the blending criteria in the legislation. Member Mellera recommended consulting with Portland and other jurisdictions on implementation strategies in order to avoid making the same mistakes. Member Smith reported that the Mayor’s Office and Chair Bowen are both in contact with Portland and experts in blending techniques that attended the National Biodiesel Conference were consulted.
Task Force members discussed work that has to be done with auto manufacturers so that newer cars can run on biodiesel and alternative fuels. Member Jordan recommended an agenda item to discuss what the Task Force could do to understand this issue and to start a forum for discussions. Member Smith reported that Member Bali is investigating new engines and other technologies for City fleets moving forward that are not necessarily diesel related. Member Clark recommended compiling a list of car manufacturers that would not be compatible with biodiesel fuel. Member Swiggers reported that newer car engines 2007 ½ + do not comply with the exception of Caterpillar. Member Mellera reported that every manufacturer except the one that is mostly off-road is designing products that are not compatible with any diesel alternative fuel. It was suggested that San Francisco and other cities combine efforts to prepare a joint letter to manufacturers on this topic. Member Jordan reported that he would pursue this issue as a new agenda item and would work on a letter or resolution to present to the Task Force.
7. 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 December 10, 2008 Meeting) (Discussion)
Member Mellera reported on his work on the technical aspect of the Master Fuel Contract which has been presented to the Office of Contract Administration as a finished document. It was explained that the contract is being reviewed by lawyers and may be finalized this week. Member Mellera reported that he is happy with the contract because it is focusing on the City’s own programs including Fire Department issues, underground storage tank, and transit specifics. The contract was written so that it could be shared with other cities, and it is hoped that there would be a wide range of bidders responding. It was explained that the major difference between the current contract and the next one is on quality control and support of local biodiesel providers. It was explained that there will probably be a blanket contract that each City department has access to that would be a per vehicle arrangement similar to gasoline vehicles that are allowed to do business with three or four fuel stations in the City. Details would be worked on after the master contract is finalized.
Item 11 was heard before Item 8.
8. Update on the Status of the Biodiesel Manufacturing Plant in San Francisco. (Continued Discussion from the December 10, 2008 Meeting) SPEAKER: Mr. Eric Smith
Vice-Chair Smith reported that Darling International has been continuing their negotiations with the Port of San Francisco and MUNI in their plans and preparations for building a 10-million gallon biodiesel facility in San Francisco. It was stated that discussions have produced positive results, and Darling advised that a realistic target date for implementation would be late spring or early summer of 2010 rather than the original target date of December 2009. Darling is working diligently with the Port of San Francisco on a variety of items including best practices and hiring from the Green Biodiesel Intern Job Training Program. Member Devine inquired whether biodiesel produced by Darling would be shipped offshore. Vice-Chair Smith reported that he doesn’t believe that the biodiesel would be shipped offshore, that that the City would utilize 3 million gallons, the rest may go to third party blenders, and some would stay locally. It was explained that even though the capacity is ten million gallons, that amount may not be produced. Member Jordan explained that where the fuel goes may be part of the permitting process that the Port would be handling and recommended contacting Member Berman on this topic. Member Smith reported that he met with an owner of Sonora Biofuels who purchased Blue Sky in the East Bay who indicated that the company could produce as much as 20 million gallons and had inquired about the City’s fueling contracts.
9. 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 December 10. 2008 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion) SPEAKERS: Members Bowen and Smith
Vice-Chair Smith reported that Green Depot has been advocating Dogpatch Biofuels as San Francisco’s premier biodiesel location and is hoping to continue in that effort. Vice-Chair Smith indicated that Member Mellera had discussed how the blanket master fuel contract could lead to the use of other smaller businesses, and Vice-Chair Smith stated that he had advocated including Dogpatch Biofuels as one of those businesses. It was explained that Member Jordan is continuing with his plans for fueling at Rainbow Grocery. Member Swiggers inquired whether there was a list of fleets available, especially in the Bayview/Hunters Point area that had expressed interest in using biodiesel. Vice-Chair Smith reported that he would provide Member Swiggers with a list of all the known biodiesel users of the Olympian Oil Station, People’s Fuel, and San Francisco Petroleum. Member Jordan recommended reaching out to Department of the Environment Environmental Justice Program manager, Anne Eng, who has done research and outreach in this neighborhood on diesel emission reduction and with contractors on the construction and demolition ordinance. Member Jordan explained that there are a lot of contractors and truckers that could potentially start B100 programs. Vice-Chair Smith and Member Jordan discussed the possibility of produce trucks running on B100 and recommended establishing contacts with Ms. Eng and Mr. Janis on this effort. Member Jordan also recommended contacting the Sustainability Retailers Association. Member Swiggers reported that the price of biodiesel is dropping and the price of gasoline is going up which would make it more feasible to use biodiesel and reported that Dogpatch Biofuels is considering establishing a card lock system once more fleets express interest.
10. Hazardous Material Classification of Biodiesel. (Continued from the December 10, 2008 Meeting) (Discussion) SPEAKER: Member St. Jean
Vice-Chair Smith reported that this topic was discussed at the National Biodiesel Board Conference, and that Chair Bowen was on a panel with the California State Water Board and the California Energy Commission to identify the issues. The Executive Director of the Water Board spoke at the conference and stated that she has been working with the National Biodiesel Board and California Biodiesel Alliance and is awaiting approval from the Underwriters Laboratory, who has to run tests on biodiesel before stamping their approval. It was explained there is a question of when the Underwriters Laboratory would start working on this effort. This agenda item was continued to the next meeting.
11. State Water Resources Control Board Underground Storage Tank (UST) Update. (Informational Report and Discussion).
Member Mellera reported that MUNI underground storage tanks were cited by the Department of Public Health (DPH) in San Francisco for being in violation of State Water Board regulations. The violation carries consequences, but MUNI is still carrying on with the B20 program with the idea that there will be an arrangement through DPH to work with the Water Board on a pilot program basis to resolve the issue of a technically incompatible tank according to the Water Board. Member Jordan recommended that the Task Force issue a letter with the assistance of the City Attorney’s Office to the Mayor’s Office and/or department heads running the biodiesel B20 program advising them of this issue. Member Mellera stated that he held discussions with the Mayor’s Office and they are fully supportive of continuing the program. Member Mellera recommended involving the Mayor’s Office and the Department of Public Health in this effort. Vice-Chair Smith suggested that Chair Bowen craft the letter as the Chair of the Task Force. This agenda item was continued to the next meeting.
12. Update on the Biofuel Recycling Waste Cooking Oil Program. (Continued from the December 10, 2008 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion) SPEAKERS: Members Jordan and Ving
Member Jordan reported that there are 600 new restaurants signed up for the Biofuel Recycling Waste Cooking Oil Program, collection is occurring, the infrastructure is expanding, and project development continues. Vice-Chair Smith reported that there was a film shown at the National Biodiesel Board Conference that featured San Francisco’s current biodiesel activities at the Fire Department, trains at the railroad, Red and White ferries, and the Greasecycle program. In addition, Members Ving, Bali, Ferry, and Mellera discussed all of the different programs in San Francisco. Mr. von Wedel was presented with a biodiesel impact award by the Executive Director of the National Biodiesel Board, and the Biodiesel Access Task Force received a lot of credit for the work they have done. Vice-Chair Smith reported that Member Ving was on multiple panels talking about the Greasecycle program, and a lot of cities have been looking at the possibility of duplicating the program. There was also a big press conference announcing a new program to collect brown grease to turn into biodiesel.
Member Devine asked how the application process works for people wanting to purchase the used cooking oil from the SFPUC and who the used cooking oil is being distributed to at this time. Member Jordan recommended contacting Member Ving, the program coordinator, to purchase oil. It was explained that the oil is being sold to biodiesel manufacturers and discussed upcoming Request for Proposal(s) for biodiesel producers to produce 10,000 gallons of biodiesel to use in City fleets. Member Swiggers inquired about how this process would integrate into the Master Fuel Contract. Member Jordan reported that the Office of Contract Administration would be working on this element and determining what is allowable. Vice-Chair Smith stated that there would be an arrangement between the PUC and the Office of Contract Administration on how this process would work. Member Swiggers inquired whether the Master Fuel Contract would allow the City the ability to purchase from a number of different producers. Member Jordan reported that these details would have to be worked through. Member Devine felt it might be a conflict of interest to use City assets for collection and then selling it on a retail or wholesale basis. Member Devine felt that this action would not support private industry. Member Jordan stated that he believes the City wants to celebrate private industry and foster new development and technologies and at the same time make sure that private industry is doing a sufficient job in protecting the environment and the City’s assets in the sewer system itself. It was recommended that Member Ving be contacted for additional information.
13. New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information and Discussion). Future agenda items include a review and approval of a letter to alert department heads on current underground storage tank issues, to issue letters to the Fire Department and DBI to start a biodiesel permitting working group, and a discussion on the diesel particulate filter and post combustion injection issue. Member Jordan reported that letters to DBI and the Fire Department requesting fee waivers were signed and would be forwarded to the departments. (Explanatory Documents: Fee Waiver Letter to SFFD and Fee Waiver Letter to DBI)
14. 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.
15. Adjournment. The Biodiesel Access Task Force meeting adjourned at 11:52 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: April 8, 2009