12.09 Approved Minutes





WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2009, 10:00 A.M.




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).




1.      Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Biodiesel Access Task Force meeting convened at 10:08 a.m.  Present:  Chair Bowen, Vice-Chair Smith, Members Devine and Jordan; Excused: Members Burgard, Clark and Swiggers.  Advisory Members Present: Members Berman, St. Jean and Ving (10:20 a.m.).  Advisory Members Excused: Members Augustine, Bali, and Kornfield; Advisory Members Absent: Members Dennis, Ferry and Mellera.


2.      Approval of the October 14, 2009 Biodiesel Access Task Force Regular Meeting Draft Minutes. (Discussion and Action) Upon Motion by Member Jordan and second by Chair Bowen, the October 14, 2009 Meeting Minutes were approved (AYES:  Chair Bowen, Vice-Chair Smith, Members Devine and Jordan; Absent:  Members Burgard, Clark and Swiggers) (Explanatory Document: October 14, 2009 Approved Minutes)


3.      Update on the Extension of the Biodiesel Access Task Force and Marine Committee Sunset Date of December 31, 2009. (Discussion and Possible Action) SPEAKER:  Chair Bowen


Vice-Chair Smith reported on his discussion with Supervisor Mirkarimi who would be sponsoring the extension, on the process. Upon Motion by Chair Bowen and second by Vice-Chair Smith, the Task Force approved that a request be made to Supervisor Mirkarimi to extend the Task Force sunset date to December 31, 2010 and maintain the current scope and membership with the option to hold discussions in 2010 about expanding the scope and making membership modifications in a request for a further extension (AYES: Chair Bowen, Vice-Chair Smith, Members Devine and Jordan; Absent: Members Burgard, Clark, and Swiggers).  Member Jordan requested that the discussion on scope modification and membership begin early in the process.


Chair Bowen motioned, second by Vice-Chair Smith, to sunset the Marine Committee and fold its work into the main Task Force (AYES:  Chair Bowen, Vice-Chair Smith, Members Devine and Jordan; Absent: Members Burgard, Clark, and Swiggers). Member Jordan requested that the newly formed Biofuels Permitting Working Group continue as part of the extension of the Task Force.  


4.      Master Fuel Contract and City Biodiesel Program Update. (Continued Discussion from the October 9, 2009 Meeting) (Discussion) SPEAKERS: Members Bali and Mellera


Member Jordan stated that he would be requesting a reference copy of the Master Fuel Contract. He stated that he would follow-up with Members Bali and Mellera so updates could be provided at the next Task Force meeting on the City biodiesel program and would make sure the right vehicle purchasing guidelines were being used.  A discussion was held on underground storage tank considerations and their use by MUNI and other departments. 


Member Ving reported that the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) would be requesting an amendment to the Master Fuel Contract to allow SFPUC to dispense biodiesel that is being made at their Oceanside Treatment plant.  The biodiesel would be used in their fleet and MUNI’s.  Consideration is being given to whether to establish a separate tolling agreement or work through the Master Fuel Contract for fuel dispensing.  Member Ving reported that the SFPUC plans to be producing biodiesel B100 in the first of January and is considering selecting someone with liability insurance to blend it.  Member Jordan discussed the importance of establishing quality assurance and control procedures.  Member Ving reported that there would also be a request to amend the Master Fuel Contract so the SFPUC can purchase methanol through a number of different vendors.   


5.      State Water Resources Control Board Underground Storage Tank (UST) Update. (Continued Discussion from the October 9, 2009 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion) SPEAKER: Chair Bowen


Chair Bowen reported that there was success two weeks ago in establishing permanent regulations for the next three years that would provide a sufficient amount of time for Underwriters Laboratories (UL) to complete its work and assure that the previously existing biodiesel regulations would be in compliance without any third-party certification.  He stated that there should not be additional work required with the appointed State Water Resources Control Board as a result of the permanent regulations that were established, and there would be a three-year window in which to complete work. Work would continue at the local Certified Unified Program Agencies (CUPA) level and on a tank-by-tank basis with a variance under these existing new regulations.  Member St. Jean discussed her intent to hold a future meeting to discuss marina permitting regulations and fueling facilities and how it may apply to biodiesel.


6.      Hazardous Material Classification of Biodiesel. (Continued Discussion from the October 9, 2009 Meeting) (Discussion) SPEAKER:  Member St. Jean


Member St. Jean stated that there was no further update or current activity other than what was reported at the October 14 Task Force meeting.  Members were asked to reference the meeting minutes for additional information. 


7.      Update on the Local Biofuels Permitting Work Group. (Discussion) SPEAKER:  Member Jordan


Member Jordan reported that legal counsel advised that the Work Group could not hold conference call meetings.  He explained that a quorum was not reached for the December 9 Work Group meeting.  Members that did attend discussed non-agenda issues such as the administrative process for holding meetings.  Task Force Secretary Monica Fish reported that she had confirmed with the Deputy City Attorney that recordings and formal minutes were not required for Work Group meetings; however, a summary of actions and meeting attendance would be required. Member Jordan reported that the Work Group discussed future membership, their meeting schedule, and how work would be accomplished. He reported that after extension of the Task Force sunset date, meetings would be held quarterly and follow-up work would be accomplished in between meetings. The Work Group would hold discussions with the Fire Department on developing guidelines for storage and dispensing of fuel.  A request was made to hold the meetings an hour before the regular Task Force meetings and meeting room reservations. Chair Bowen appointed Member Jordan Chair of the Work Group. 


Member Ving reported that the Presidio Business School of Management has a sustainability focus and now has a School of Public Policy program, in which students are required to do projects each semester.  Members Jordan and Ving would be attending the Presidio Open House to request information on how to make a project of the effort to streamline the process to gain permitting for green activities. Member Jordan suggested that student involvement could also apply to future work on a B20 mandate.


8.      Approval of letters to engine manufacturers that educates them that the technology that they are using may have unintended impacts such as non-compatibility with current fuels used in municipal fleets, state mandates and others.  (Explanatory Document:  Draft Letters to Engine Manufacturers) (Discussion and Action) SPEAKER:  Member Jordan


Member Jordan distributed a copy of the online petition language from Save Biodiesel.org (www.savebiodiesel.org) that is directed to engine manufacturers (Explanatory Document:  Online Petition language).  He asked the Task Force to consider four possible actions (1) sign the petition online; (2) create a Task Force letter referencing the petition language and sending it to the same recipients of the petition; (3) work with the Mayor’s Office to draft a similar letter from their point of view; and (4) work with fleet managers to develop formal purchasing guidelines or procedures that would restrict purchasing of incompatible vehicles; request that they sign on to the petition; or draft a letter or recommendation to City fleet managers asking them to restrict purchasing of incompatible vehicles.  


Member Ving reported that she had met with SFPUC lobbyists to present this issue.  She stated that the SFPUC would be prepared to have the Biofuel Recycling Cooperative draft a letter for the Mayor’s signature that would be sent to engine manufacturers explaining how their actions could impact the effort to protect public health and the environment when deciding on technology.  The way to approach this effort to achieve the most impact is being considered, e.g., whether to incorporate signing of the letter by the Task Force, the California Biodiesel Alliance, and collection of Mayors who currently have biodiesel test programs in their municipality.  Vice-Chair Smith credited Member Swiggers’ effort in publishing this information on the Save Biodiesel.org website.   Member Berman discussed how the Precautionary Principle would apply to this issue and be included in the letter from the Mayor’s Office. 


Upon Motion by Chair Bowen and second by Vice-Chair Smith, the Task Force approved (1) Task Force signing of the online petition; (2) Member Jordan to draft a letter on behalf of the Task Force to engine manufacturers that would be signed by Chair Bowen and would reference the online petition language; (3) forward a copy of the Task Force letter to the Mayor requesting that he issue a similar letter--this effort would be worked on in coordination with the SFPUC effort; and (4) Task Force to not include communication to fleet managers and would request that the Mayor’s Office issue a directive to City fleet managers. (AYES: Chair Bowen, Vice-Chair Smith, Members Devine and Jordan; Absent: Members Burgard, Clark, and Swiggers.)


9.      Green Depot Program Report. (Continued Discussion from the October 9, 2009 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion) SPEAKER:  Vice-Chair Smith


Vice-Chair Smith reported that a grant is being negotiated with the Department on the Environment that would allow Green Depot and Biofuels Recycling to continue its advocacy in developing a Green Jobs program similar to SFPUC’s program.  The grant is being finalized with the City Attorney.  Vice-Chair Smith reported SF Biofuels Cooperative dissolved last month and was absorbed into Green Depot.  As part of that arrangement, one of the Board members of the SF Biofuels Cooperative and Biofuels Recycling became a Board member of Green Depot to oversee San Francisco’s operations.  Vice-Chair Smith reported that he is meeting with other potential funders, and the outlook is good for Green Depot to continue its advocacy role in 2010.


Vice-Chair Smith reported that he and Members Ving and Jordan recently met with the founder of Green Depot and City of Inglewood representatives to discuss creating a Green Depot Resource Center in Inglewood that would duplicate the San Francisco Herons Head Park Eco-Center that would offer educational programs in communities of color and SF GreaseCycle programs.


Public Comment:  Mr. Robert Kirsten Sirona Fuels inquired whether Green Depot is involved with Santa Monica’s plans for a GreaseCycle program. Chair Bowen reported that Green Depot has a long-standing relationship with the City of Santa Monica, and the City of Santa Monica has considered establishing a Green Depot program similar to what Inglewood is considering.  Santa Monica is considering recreating the GreaseCycle program in conjunction with GeoGreen in Los Angeles.


10.  Dogpatch Biofuels Update.  (Continued Discussion from the October 9, 2009 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion) SPEAKER: Member Swiggers


Vice-Chair Smith reported that Dogpatch Biofuels is receiving good publicity, is doing very well, and getting more members to join every day. Dogpatch is also a GreaseCycle drop-off location. It was reported that Eco Company TV, a teen-oriented ecological web-based television program, recently filmed Dogpatch Biofuels and the Greasecycle program. 


11.  Fat Free Biofuel LLC Refinery Update. (Continued Discussion from the October 9, 2009 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion) SPEAKER: Member Devine


Member Devine reported that she is continuing to look for funding to operate as a multi-service hub.  She is looking for a coffee vendor, putting a zip car on the lot, and for an electric car charger vendor.  A discussion was held about contacting the Presidio Management Business School MBA program to request assistance in coordinating the project.


12.  Update on the Greasecycle Program and San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) Pilot Plant. (Continued Discussion from the October 9, 2009 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion) SPEAKERS: Members Jordan and Ving


Member Ving reported that the SFPUC will start producing biodiesel in January and discussed the two phases involved in making restaurant track waste into biodiesel using on-site equipment. She stated that an additional source of funding for one million dollars was appropriated from the 2009 Energy Bill to help pay for equipment procurement and analytical work.  Member Ving stated that a modest 1500 gallons of biodiesel would be produced in a week, and three scenarios would be pursued (1) use in the SFPUC fleet; (2) outsourcing to MUNI; and (3) selling to Dogpatch Biofuels or to the public.  The legalities and logistics are being understood so that knowledge can be offered to other municipalities to replicate.  Chair Bowen stated that this program is leading internationally and has good story value as it applies to municipalities and for use by businesses such as Dogpatch Biofuels. Member Ving stated that the purpose of the program is not to make biodiesel, but to develop a business case for other municipalities to make biodiesel.  Or if they decide not to make biodiesel and keep it off their digesters, they would have the information available to make the appropriate decision.


Member Ving also provided a report on (1) the SFPUC’s interest in BioBunker; (2) work in conjunction with the Biofuels Recycling Cooperative on creating a knowledge database to place on the SFPUC SFRecyle.org website so that other cities can replicate programs; and (3) the success of the post Thanksgiving residential grease drop-off program.  Permanent grease drop-off sites have been established at all the Whole Foods stores, Costco, Dogpatch Biofuels, HANK, and Walden House. 


13.  Update on the Status of Darling’s Proposed Biodiesel Manufacturing Plant in San Francisco. (Continued Discussion from the October 9, 2009 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion) SPEAKER:  Vice-Chair Smith


Vice-Chair Smith stated that the San Francisco Port and Darling International held two very productive and informative community meetings in the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood.  Member St. Jean was commended for her participation on the part of the Department of Public Health as well as Port staff.  He reported that the first community meeting was to present the project and discuss emergency mitigation plans and community concerns such as odor abatement.  The second meeting was attended by opponents of the plan, e.g., Bayview Community Advocates. The Port and Darling researched concerns and brought back toxicology reports prepared by specialists in the field.  Darling would be making a decision on how to proceed, and the process is ongoing with all parties concerned.  


Member Berman reported that Darling is making sure that the venture is a worthy investment of their time and resources. It was explained that the first meeting was structured around regulatory content in which the current operations take place; and the second meeting was to review the detail in the change in operations.  As part of the lease negotiation, the Port asked Darling to write an operational plan in which they folded several regulatory plans into.  There was a review of fire safety issues, community concerns, and the health effects of odorous emissions.  Member St. Jean reported at the meeting that if something smells bad, that it is not necessarily bad for your health.


Member Berman reported that the outcome of the second meeting was that Darling committed publicly to test emissions from their odor-control equipment, do air-modeling, and would make that data available for a health-risk assessment of the odor-control issue.  In the meantime, the City Planning Department of Environmental Review and Analysis would be preparing a CEQA determination for the Darling project.  The community meetings that the Port hosted was in parallel with the CEQA process to insure that there was robust community participation. Vice-Chair Smith stated that Darling also addressed local hiring issues and community sales.  Member Devine discussed the carbon footprint in selling overseas. 


Member Berman reported that there would be another community meeting scheduled to review the results of the air-sampling, and the Department of Public Health would be reporting on the health-risk assessment.  He stated that he would be sending meeting information to Ms. Fish to forward to Task Force members who were encouraged to attend the meeting to support the project.


14.  New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information and Discussion) Chair Bowen announced that this would be the last meeting for the Task Force as currently constituted and recommended setting a future agenda after the Task Force extension has been granted.  Vice-Chair Smith invited Task Force members to attend Supervisor Mirkarimi’s holiday party celebration and discuss the extension of the Task Force.  Vice-Chair Smith also thanked Ms. Fish for her support and inquired about the process for renewing staff support with the Task Force extension.  Ms. Fish indicated that staff support would most likely be automatically renewed.


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 public comment at this time.


16.  Adjournment.  The Biodiesel Access Task Force meeting adjourned at 11:55 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 [email protected], or (3) on the meeting website as attachments to the agendas or meeting minutes.   


*Approved: February 10, 2010

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