CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO
BIODIESEL ACCESS TASK FORCE REGULAR MEETING
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 14, 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 10:22 a.m. Present: Chair Bowen, Vice-Chair Smith; Members Clark (10:45), Devine and Jordan; Excused: Members Burgard and Swiggers. Advisory Members Present: Members St. Jean and Ving. Advisory Members Excused: Members Augustine, Bali, Dennis, and Kornfield. Advisory Members Absent: Members Berman, Ferry and Mellera.
2. Approval of the June 10 and August 12, 2009 Biodiesel Access Task Force Regular Meeting Draft Minutes. (Discussion and Action). Upon Motion by Member Jordan and second by Member Smith, the June 10 and August 12, 2009 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES: Chair Bowen, Vice-Chair Smith, Members Devine and Jordan; Absent: Members Burgard, Clark and Swiggers). (Explanatory Documents: June 10, 2009 Approved Minutes and August 12, 2009 Approved Minutes)
3. Master Fuel Contract and City Biodiesel Program Update. (Continued from the August 12, 2009 Meeting) (Discussion) Chair Bowen reported that Western States Oil was awarded as the City’s Master Fuel contract provider, and Nella/Olympian was awarded as secondary. Member Jordan stated that the City would be well advised to maintain a tank inspection program. Member St. Jean inquired whether the contract addresses compliance issues and reported that there would be new underground storage tank rules taking effect in January. Chair Bowen stated that the contract addresses fuel compliance, but is unsure whether storage was contemplated. It was stated that a copy of the contract can be requested from the Office of Contract Administration.
4. State Water Resources Control Board Underground Storage Tank (UST) Update. (Continued from the August 12, 2009 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion) SPEAKER: Chair Bowen
Chair Bowen reported that the State Water Resources Control Board has passed and started the implementation of emergency regulations and is now working on the permanent regulation process. This process is moving forward, but not at the rate hoped for by the Water Board because of state furloughs and other issues. The California Biodiesel Alliance Board is working closely with the State Water Resources Control Board on this process. All the manufacturer compatibility certifications received from operators, tank manufacturers or equipment manufacturers are all posted on the California Biodiesel Alliance Board website. The National Biodiesel Board has two consultant jobs posted for positions in Southern and Northern California to help owners and operators go through the variance process. Chair Bowen stated that he believes there have been approximately several dozen variances that have been issued or applied for and dozens more in process. The State Water Resources Control Board has issued a 30-day notice announcing a public hearing that will be scheduled next month in Sacramento.
Chair Bowen explained that the solution is not perfect because the regulations do not include all tanks or blends above B20, but solves a limited goal of allowing for continued use of biodiesel in underground storage tanks while Underwriters Laboratories (UL) completes its work, which may take from one to two years. Member St. Jean stated that it is up to businesses to provide the local California Certified Unified Program Agencies (CUPAs) and her agency notices of intent and letters of compatibility and to supply comments back to the Biodiesel Board. Member Jordan recommended that the new work group that the Task Force would be voting to establish could offer compliance and compatibility assistance.
Public Comment: Mr. Robert Kirsten, Sirona Fuels asked if a list of variances that have been issued is available to the public. Chair Bowen stated that he does not believe there is a centralized, complete, or public list available.
5. Hazardous Material Classification of Biodiesel. (Continued from the August 12, 2009 Meeting) (Discussion) SPEAKER: Member St. Jean
Member St. Jean reported that regulatory agencies have not made a change in definition of biodiesel’s classification as a hazardous material. Chair Bowen inquired how the classification might apply to the new underground storage tank state law regulations in effect in January. Member St. Jean reported that B100 would be regulated only by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) because it is still considered a vegetable oil. California regulates petroleum derived oil, waste petroleum, anything that is being refined from a petroleum product including some solvents, but not vegetable oil. B99 will be regulated by both the state and federal EPA. Member St. Jean explained that there won’t be a noticeable change in California until a B100 site becomes available, and starting January 1, the Department of Public Health will be regulating at the local level.
6. Proposal to Create a B20 Mandate in San Francisco. (Continued from the August 12, 2009 Meeting) (Discussion) SPEAKERS: Chair Bowen and Vice-Chair Smith
Vice Chair Smith reported that the Board of Supervisors Government Audit and Oversight Committee recently held a hearing to discuss the Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force final report recommendations on how San Francisco should move forward in this age of peak oil. The San Francisco Cooperative had also added information on biodiesel that was included in the report. Vice-Chair Smith reported that Supervisor Mirkarimi was considering an ordinance to move many of the recommendations forward, and discussed the inclusion of a B20 mandate. It was explained that Mr. Wade Crowfoot is no longer at the Mayor’s Office and no additional contact has been made with Mr. Crowfoot’s replacement at this time, but conversations are being held with Supervisor Mirkarimi, Mr. Lowe of Supervisor Maxwell’s office, and Supervisor Mar who is interested in pursuing a conversation about biodiesel and biofuels in the future.
Chair Bowen proposed that future discussions include a carbon-reduction threshold for all diesel sold in San Francisco, particularly in the context of peak oil, moving it away from biodiesel specifics, but making it a combination of non-petroleum and/or low-carbon, so that one or both of those things would fit the context of a peak oil ordinance more appropriately than biodiesel specifics.
7. Creation of a Local Biodiesel Permitting Work Group to review and identify any necessary changes to permitting and code review and remove barriers for biodiesel implementation. (Continued from the August 12, 2009 Meeting) (Discussion and Possible Action) SPEAKER: Member Jordan
Member Jordan proposed that the Task Force consider formalizing a working group to work on permitting and code review, Fire Department storage container requirements, as well as work with regulators. Member Jordan recommended building on Planning Department requirements for existing gas stations to do biodiesel dispensing by adding requirements for new locations. It was suggested that the working group include representatives from the Planning, Building, and Fire Departments, three Biodiesel Access Task Force voting members and one-two advisory members. Member Jordan recommended that the work group consider publishing guidelines on the website for other agencies or jurisdictions to reference. Member Ving recommended involving the Presidio Graduate School of Public Policy students to work on projects, and Member St. Jean recommended contacting students from the University of San Francisco Masters degree program. Upon Motion by Chair Bowen and second by Vice-Chair Smith the Biodiesel Access Task Force voted to approve the creation of a work group (AYES: Chair Bowen, Vice-Chair Smith, Members Clark, Devine, Jordan; Absent: Members Burgard and Swiggers).
8. Green Depot Program Report. (Continued from the August 12, 2009 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion) SPEAKER: Vice-Chair Smith
Vice-Chair Smith welcomed the founder of Green Depot in Santa Monica, Mr. Joe Gershen, who is interested in researching San Francisco’s work on biodiesel for implementation in Santa Monica and Inglewood. Vice-Chair Smith reported that the San Francisco Biodiesel Cooperative voted to dissolve, and that their assets would be folded into the Green Depot. He reported that Green Depot continues to work with Biofuel Recycling on formulating a green jobs program and writing grants. Vice Chair Smith explained that he became the director of Green Depot to promote the use of biofuels in environmental justice challenged neighborhoods, e.g., Bayview, Potrero, and Dogpatch, where all three biofuel facilities are located. Vice-Chair Smith is also working with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) and the Task Force to help implement biodiesel and raise awareness. He is also a Board Member for the Eco Center for Literacy for Environmental Justice in Heron Heads Park that will be opening in the next couple of months and is the first platinum LEED certified sustainable off the grid building.
Public Comment: Mr. Gershen stated that his objective is to focus on all forms of sustainable/low-carbon energy. He has worked with Inglewood to develop the use of B20 in their fleet. Mr. Gershen is interested in researching San Francisco’s work with green jobs development in order to integrate and share information with Santa Monica and Inglewood. The idea is to improve a blighted neighborhood by putting in a Green Depot sustainable energy resource center.
9. Dogpatch Biofuels Update. (Continued from the August 12, 2009 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion) SPEAKER: Member Swiggers was not in attendance. Vice-Chair Smith reported that Dogpatch is doing very well.
Item 14 was heard before Item 10.
10. Fat Free Biofuel LLC Refinery Update. (Continued from the August 12, 2009 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion) SPEAKER: Member Devine
Member Devine reported that she is opening a coffee shop and concession in the next month, installing tanks or totes on her lot, and has containment sorted out for the existing gas station. It was explained that there is a lot of demand for diesel in the area. Member Devine stated that there are four or five truck repair shops in the neighborhood and asked if the Task Force could offer a presentation on her lot to truck repair shops in the neighborhood on biodiesel repair. Member Jordan provided references to Member Devine.
11. Update on the Greasecycle Program and San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) Pilot Plant. (Continued from the August 12, 2009 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion) SPEAKERS: Members Jordan and Ving
Member Ving reported that there are approximately 800 establishments that include restaurants, religious institutions, jail houses, Delancey Street, Walden House, etc. donating their cooking oil for recycling and the program is doing well. There are drop-off sites at Dogpatch Biofuels, HANK, Norcal Residential Household Waste, two Whole Foods stores, and two more Whole Foods are coming online. This will lay the groundwork to approach other bigger chains, e.g. Molly Stones, Safeway to show that there are no spills or problems and the program is good for the community. The public has responded well to the existence of drop-off sites. There will be outreach to San Francisco firehouses prior to Thanksgiving to educate residents on how to safely fry turkeys, at which time there will be an opportunity to educate the public on disposal of their waste cooking oil.
Member Ving reported that the brown grease to biodiesel demonstration is under construction and should be finished by the end of next month. It is scheduled to come online early to mid-January. It was explained that a number of grants have been applied for various projects, CNG, harvesting algae, etc.
Member Ving reported that the waste cooking oil plant is under construction and is also scheduled to be operational by January. It won’t be making biodiesel, just polishing, heating and settling. There will be quality fuel produced that will be less of a headache for any biodiesel manufacturer that wants to come on board. Additional work is in progress with the City Attorney’s Office and Public Utilities Commission Contracting Department to figure out what a tolling agreement would look like in San Francisco.
Member Ving reported that work on green jobs is also in progress--the SFPUC has four employees from the Human Services Agency working with them for 18 months, exposing them to all facets of biodiesel and allowing them to take advantage of all the training resources that the City offers. Two employees go out on collections and have been instrumental in increasing support for residential programs, and two others work in the office to help with accounts receivables, billing and invoicing with manufacturers. It is a good opportunity to understand the business.
12. Update on the Status of Darling’s Proposed Biodiesel Manufacturing Plant in San Francisco. (Continued from the August 12, 2009 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion) SPEAKER: Vice-Chair Smith
Vice Chair Smith reported that Darling recently held their first preliminary public meeting to discuss plans for their biodiesel plant at Pier 96. The meeting was attended by Members Smith, Ving and St. Jean, the Bay Area Quality Management District, Environmental Protection Agency, and other interested parties. The second meeting for Darling to discuss their plans is scheduled for this evening at 6:00 p.m. at the Joseph Lee Recreation Center in the Bayview District. There is a link to Darling’s operational plan on the sfgov.port website http://www.sfgov.org/site/port_page.asp?id=111881. A discussion will be held on topics that include Darling’s facilities response plan, storm water pollution prevention plan, spill prevention control and countermeasure plan, facility operations plan, odor management plan, and odor abatement system upgrade plan. Member Berman will be leading the Port charge as well as Mr. David Dupree. Vice-Chair Smith reported that a lot of questions were answered at the last meeting by Mr. David Pascal, and Members Berman and St. Jean provided a presentation. The meeting brought out many of the community activists and there were a lot of questions about air and odor. This agenda item was continued for further discussion at the December 9, 2009 meeting.
13. Diesel Engine - Post Combustion Injection Diesel Particulate Filter Regeneration Technique Discussion. (Continued from the August 12, 2009 Meeting) (Informational Presentation and Discussion) SPEAKERS: Members Jordan and Swiggers. (Explanatory Document: Presentation)
Member Jordan thanked Member Swiggers for her help in preparing the PowerPoint presentation and discussed compatibility of biodiesel in vehicles from years 2007 to the present. The issue is that emissions technology in most diesel vehicles are shown to be incompatible with biodiesel blends as low as B5 - B100. This situation poses a threat to the future of biodiesel as a viable fuel alternative and to the work that the Task Force has accomplished in terms of establishing mandates. Member Jordan reported that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) have new and more rigorous emission standards that require installation of a diesel particulate filter to trap emissions; however there is still an issue of incompatibility from the injection process. Further discussion included the mechanism, effects of engine oil dilution and biodiesel-oil interactions, alternative methods, and actions that can be taken.
Member Jordan discussed (1) the importance of educating consumers because biodiesel users are finding out after buying vehicles that they are having trouble; (2) encouraging Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), EPA and CARB to look at this issue more closely; and (3) to gather letters of support from fleets and city agencies to preserve a B20 mandate and to not buy equipment incompatible with the fuel. Member Ving recommended consulting with Member Bali, the Clean Cities Coordinator who was instrumental in coordinating B20 across all city agencies and has access to all San Francisco fleets. It was suggested that a letter be drafted for fleet managers to sign on to.
Chair Bowen recommended that the Task Force sign the online petition at www.savebiodiesel.org as recommended by Member Jordan and issue a press release so that the Purchasing Office or Board of Supervisors can adopt a policy to purchase vehicles consistent with environmental policies. Member Jordan indicated that he would review and possibly modify the petition to present to the Task Force at the December 9, 2009 meeting and would work with Member Bali on her discussions with fleet managers.
Public Comment: Ms. Virginia Klausmeier discussed possible solutions and alternative technology methods.
14. Consider Extension of the Biodiesel Access Task Force Sunset Date of December 31, 2009. (Discussion and Possible Action) SPEAKER: Chair Bowen
Chair Bowen reported that the Task Force was created four years ago with an initial two-year sunset date and was extended another two years with a sunset date of December 31, 2009. Task Force members discussed their achievements and future work in this area and recommended extending the Task Force for another two years in order to continue their work in this area. It was explained that a Resolution of extension would have to be approved at the Board of Supervisors Committee level and then at the full Board. Chair Bowen and Vice Chair Smith would approach one of the Board of Supervisors members to sponsor the extension and discuss future membership and whether to expand the scope to low-carbon fuels, biofuels, or something other than just biodiesel. Member Devine recommended focusing on biodiesel because of limited meeting time. Upon Motion by Member Jordan and second by Vice-Chair Smith, the Task Force voted to request extension of the Task Force sunset date for another two years and have the Task Force Chair discuss negotiations with a Board of Supervisors sponsor (AYES: Chair Bowen, Vice-Chair Smith, Members Clark, Devine, and Jordan; Absent: Member Burgard and Swiggers). This item was continued to the December 9, 2009 Task Force meeting.
Ms. Virginia Klausmeier recommended that the Task Force expand their scope to biofuels as it would be more comprehensive, open up the membership, and increase interest in meeting attendance.
Mr. Joe Gershen recommended changing the Task Force scope to a low-carbon fuel or energy task force.
15. New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information and Discussion) All new business and future agenda items were discussed during the course of the meeting. No additional items were discussed at this time.
16. 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.
17. Adjournment. The Biodiesel Access Task Force meeting adjourned at 12:07 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: December 9, 2009