12.12 Approved Minutes


CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO

BIODIESEL MARINE COMMITTEE 

REGULAR MEETING

 

APPROVED MINUTES

 TUESDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2006, 11:00 A.M.

 

PORT OF SAN FRANCISCO, PIER ONE

CONFERENCE ROOM BAYSIDE 3

SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94102

 

 

TASK FORCE MEMBERS:  VOTING:  Eric Bowen (Chair), Karri Ving, Richard Berman, Two At Large Members-Vacant

 

TASK FORCE SECRETARY:  Monica Fish

 


ORDER OF BUSINESS

  

1.      CALL TO ORDER AND ROLL CALL.  The Biodiesel Marine Committee meeting convened at 11:08 a.m.  Present:  Members Bowen, Berman, and Ving.  Introductions were made and background was given on the Biodiesel Access Task Force and the Marine Committee.  In attendance:  Mr. Randall von Wedel, BioSolar Group; Mr. Paul Bishop, Director of Marine Operations, Alcatraz Cruises; Mr. Mike Ayres, General Manager, General Petroleum; Mr. James Adams, Park Service; Mr. Michael Gersick, Gersick Associates; Mr. Tom Escher, Red & White Fleet; Mr. Dave Williamson, Orange Diesel; Ms. Teri Shore, Friends of the Earth.   

 

2.      DISCUSSION AND ACTION:  Approval of November 14, 2006 Marine Committee Draft Regular Meeting Minutes.  Upon Motion by Chair Bowen and second by Member Ving, the November 14, 2006 meeting minutes were approved with no objection with an amendment to change “Pier 45” to “Pier 47” as requested by Mr. von Wedel during public comment.   (Explanatory Document:  November 14, 2006 Approved Meeting Minutes).

 

3.      INFORMATIONAL REPORT:  Bluewater Network Update.

SPEAKER:  Ms. Teri Shore, Bluewater Network

 

Ms. Teri Shore reported that Bluewater Network has merged with Friends of the Earth and after January 1st, will be primarily called Friends of the Earth.  A request was made to list future agenda items under Friends of the Earth with Bluewater Network in parenthesis.  Ms. Shore reported that the Air Resources Board (ARB) is working on a harbor craft rule for marine engines that has been delayed again due to concerns with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) federal rule on the availability of after treatment technologies for ferry engines.  Workshops on the regulation that were scheduled last week were cancelled and additional workshops may be in January.  As a result, this issue won’t go to the Board until June of next year and may or may not affect the work of this Task Force.  Ms. Shore stated that she is urging the ARB to consider using biodiesel for some of the vessels in order to comply with the new regulation, particularly the older fishing vessels.

 

Ms. Shore advised that there is a biodiesel supplier in Southern California that she will be reporting on at a future meeting.  A discussion was held on the Port of Los Angeles Request for Proposal for biodiesel use that has activated cruise line use.  A discussion was held on Carnival Cruise Line’s use of biodiesel and passengers’ positive reports on experiencing less illness caused by diesel exhaust.   

 

Ms. Shore reported that two of the world’s biggest cruise ships would be stopping in San Francisco in January 2007, the Queen Mary 2 and the QE2.  It was stated that this would present an opportunity to send a message about cruise ship air pollution.

 

4.      INFORMATIONAL REPORT:  Region 9 United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Update.

 

Chair Bowen reported that Region 9 has recently launched their biodiesel website.  Mr. von Wedel reported that the EPA is moving forward to support biodiesel programs, both nationally and regionally and discussed EPA activities that include:

 

·         Support of grants for research and biodiesel implementation programs. 

·         Participation in a regional group of EPA programs called the West Coast Diesel Emissions Reduction Collaboration. 

·         EPA program, the Clean Green Boating Program that in the past has focused on boating sewage issues, trash, bottom paint and toxicity associated with boating, and researched the idea of using B20 or biodiesel in boat engines.  Since there was no infrastructure in the bay, no fuel docks available, the effort was not encouraged. 

 

Mr. von Wedel stated that in addition to Region 9 there are larger regional grant program opportunities designed to lower the impact of diesel exhaust on the public.  It was stated that the EPA could be a source of grant funding for (1) Alcatraz projects and (2) for General Petroleum to modify an existing fuel dock into a biodiesel separate tank.

 

Ms. Shore advised that a grant had been previously submitted through the West Coast Diesel Emissions Reduction Collaboration for a fuel dock and was rejected.  It was stated that the USEPA is interested in receiving proposals from the San Francisco Bay Area and that their next Request for Proposal (RFP) will be available the beginning of next year.  Ms. Shore stated that she would be meeting with Alcatraz Cruises and USEPA staff to put together a proposal for hybrid vessels and generators.  Mr. von Wedel recommended that EPA be invited to the next meeting to present a comprehensive report on EPA biodiesel activities as it relates to marine applications.

 

5.      INFORMATIONAL REPORT:  General Petroleum Report on their relationship with Golden Gate Petroleum and their consideration of biodiesel at Pier 47.

 

Mr. Mike Ayres, General Manager, General Petroleum stated that they are the primary supplier of biodiesel on the Bay that is serviced from their Richmond facility where most of the tugboats are supplied with their fuel.  It was advised that General Petroleum is not the primary supplier of biodiesel to passenger boats.  A discussion was held on the high costs associated with supplying biodiesel because of the requirements for special permits and training required for over the water transfers.  Also cited was the expense associated with handling and transportation for trucking fuel to the Pier 47 facility and to San Jose. 

 

Mr. Ayres discussed General Petroleum’s problems with biodiesel, e.g. (1) the fuel quality of a certain brand of biodiesel that clogged a customer’s filters and (2) the pour point of B99 or B100 being at 60 degrees and it turning into jelly in cold weather.  Mr. von Wedel reported that the problems Mr. Ayres was experiencing have to do with fuel quality issues, not with biodiesel itself.  It was reported that effective January 1 all the vessels in the harbor will be receiving ultra low sulfur diesel.

 

Mr. Ayres advised that General Petroleum does not have a relationship with Golden Gate Petroleum because they are competitors.  It was stated that Golden Gate Petroleum does not wet hose because they are not qualified to do so, and that Ramos Petroleum and Redwood Coast are legally permitted, insured and bonded to do over the water transfers. 

 

Public Comment:  Ms. Shore stated that Golden Gate Petroleum is selling B20 and Ramos actually does the over the water transfers.  Ms. Shore advised that Golden Gate Petroleum would be willing to help put in the biodiesel tank at Pier 47 and supply the B20.  Mr. Ayres stated that the problem is that there is only one pipeline that goes from the tank area to the fuel pump and that pipe line has secondary containments in the pipe and expensive to put in.  A discussion was held on alternate methods that can be used that included a different location with better accessibility.

 

Public Comment:  Mr. von Wedel advised that in 2003 preliminary diagrams, scope of work, and costs were about to be submitted for a biodiesel fuel dock infrastructure as a new state project.  It did not go through because there was a lack of consensus between the City and the Port on how to do so.  The biggest issue was the physical access at the dock for larger ferries.  A discussion was held on the structural limitations of the existing fuel dock and the feasibility of a better location with better accessibility for larger vessels.  Member Berman discussed Port process and advised that the Port’s Planning and Development group is in charge of large infrastructural changes.

                                                                 

Public Comment:  Ms. Shore advised that the Port is working on a Biodiesel Feasibility Study. Mr. von Wedel advised that part of the Study was to evaluate other City waterfront locations in order to dispense biodiesel to large-scale vessels as limitations are anticipated at Pier 47.  Chair Bowen advised of the various Committees working on various aspects of the Study.  Ms. Shore advised that the Water Transit Authority has moved into Pier 9 and may be interested in a fueling facility in the future.  A discussion was held on the infeasibility of this possibility because the tank would have to be in the water.

 

Public Comment:  Mr. Michael Gersick, Gersick and Associates stated that his company moves businesses across borders and has a number of clients and connections throughout the EU and UK that are doing shore sighted alternative energy facility technology developments and investments.  Mr. Gersick discussed an upcoming proposal for a processing and fuel facility on the Pier.

 

6.      INFORMATIONAL REPORT:  Status update of Pier 80 Lease Process, Timeline and Next Steps.  This item was not discussed at this time.

 

7.      INFORMATIONAL REPORT:  Regional Water Control Board Policy Report.  This item was not discussed at this time.

 

8.      DISCUSSION:  Container Ship Air Emissions Clean Up and Regulations.

 

Chair Bowen stated that on calm days, he had noticed smokestacks from container air ships possibly burning bunker fuel to emit that type of exhaust.  It was also stated that he had experienced heavy soot all over his house and car and theorized that it may be from a marine source.  Chair Bowen asked what ability San Francisco would have to regulate water and air emissions that are toxic and indicated that biodiesel could solve this problem.

 

Public Comment:  Ms. Shore advised that ships do burn bunker fuel and it is a huge source of diesel exhaust in the Bay Area.  It was stated that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) is just beginning to regulate air emissions from these ships.  As of January 1, harbor craft will be required to use ultra low sulfur diesel.   A discussion was held on the state focus on Southern California because their air quality is so bad and that in the Los Angeles area, ships are one of the biggest sources of particulate matter.   It was advised that the Bay Area is behind on this issue and proposals have been sent to the Port of Oakland, but they have been inactive.  Ms. Shore advised that the CARB is now working on a health risk assessment study at the Port of Oakland.  It was advised that the Air Management District, Port of Oakland, Bay Planning Coalition and other environmental agencies have tried to put together a regional plan for the Bay Area. 

 

Ms. Shore offered to give a longer presentation on the emissions impact from large vessels ships coming in and out of San Francisco Bay at a future meeting.  It was suggested that the City Attorney’s Office be contacted to see what regulation authority the City would have.  Member Berman advised that the Port has their own attorney staff that could be consulted on regulation issues.   Mr. von Wedel advised that the Port has the authority to state conditions of entry and has a docking agreement with cruise ship shipping agents that ships cannot dump sewage into San Francisco Bay. 

 

Public Comment:  Mr. Gersick stated that the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are devoted to a major review of both their operations and their political resources around not just ship emissions, but all of the Port facilities that support that activity.  It was indicated that state legislation is likely for tanker related air quality and on shore support for marine transit.  Mr. Gersick encouraged the group to reach out to Southern California to see if there is common ground.

 

Public Comment:  Mr. Paul Bishop stated that 70% of air pollution from Santa Barbara County is from ships. 

 

Public Comment:  Mr. von Wedel requested that Ms. Shore summarize comments of the potential for biodioesel offsetting some of the emission impacts.  Ms. Shore agreed to discuss this issue at a future meeting.  Mr. von Wedel advised that CARB is still receiving comments on their biodiesel policy this week and encouraged Ms. Shore and the Biodiesel Task Force to submit comments.

 

Public Comment:  Mr. Tom Escher, Red and White Fleet and Mr. Dave Williamson, Orange Diesel introduced themselves.  Mr. Williamson stated that they are working on a project in Sausalito to implement biodiesel into recreational boating.

 

9.      INFORMATION:  New Business. 

 

Public Comment:  Mr. Paul Bishop stated that Alcatraz Cruises will be implementing B20 on Alcatraz Island for their primary generators and are looking for suppliers.  Design is starting on a hybrid vessel that will be powered by solar, biodiesel, and wind.

 

Public Comment:  Mr. Dave Williamson discussed progress with the Sausalito fueling facility installation that is targeted for April.  It was stated that boats are being transitioned to biodiesel starting with a B20 blend with an intention of converting to B100.  Interest is being expressed from party, cruise boats and recreational boats.

 

Public Comment:  Mr. Tom Escher, Red and White Fleet, stated that they have been running biodiesel B20 in their boats since July or August and it is being fueled over the dock.  Mr. Escher stated that they are pleased with the results and disappointed that there is not enough support and additional progress being made.  It was indicated that new environmentally friendly boats that may not use biodiesel are being researched.  Two years ago, they had offered the Port and Golden Gate Petroleum a price of $95,000 to put a tank and run a pipe in at Pier 47, which did not go through. 

 

Mr. Escher advised that MUNI is putting biodiesel in at their Kirkwood facility.  Mr. von Wedel asked if they had experienced any problems with B20.  Mr. Escher stated that they are finding growth in the tanks and are putting chemicals in and researching other methods to resolve the problem; otherwise, no problems.  Mr. von Wedel commended the Red and White Fleet as being one of the few American fleets to push forward with B20 and discussed problems experienced with B20 use by Washington State ferries.  A discussion was held on the possibility of grant opportunities for a tank installation and the Port’s approval process for implementation.

 

Public Comment:  Mr. Gersick discussed interest expressed by the UK to site an alternative and renewable R&D facility along the California coast.  The Marine Committee was urged to begin flexing its resources and recommended connecting with Senator Perata who is an advocate for fleet transit on the bay and a useful ally for linking a new fuel policy to project funding.

 

Public Comment:  Mr. Escher requested that the specific goals and milestones of the Marine Committee be presented in written format at the January or February meeting.  Chair Bowen stated that the Marine Committee’s overall goal is to get marine access to biodiesel in San Francisco whether at Pier 47 or elsewhere, and the first two meetings have been focused on information and resource gathering.  It was stated that what became apparent is that Golden Gate Petroleum is the current infrastructure provider for diesel fuel and would be the most logical place to start biodiesel.  If San Francisco Petroleum had a desire to provide biodiesel, they would have to move their headquarters on the Port property before they could do so, which may be a future opportunity.  The Committee has also discussed what is going on with the wet hosing world and if that is something that should be encouraged.  The solution was that they wanted to stay focused on dock fueling.  Chair Bowen advised that it would be appropriate for the Committee either at the January or February meeting to summarize information and define milestones, report to the Biodiesel Access Task Force, and then to the Board with a specific timeline.  It was stated that a private market solution is needed.

 

Public Comment:  Mr. James Adams stated that the Park Service contract is committed to making Alcatraz Island totally green and is starting out with B20, and then progressing to B100.

 

Chair Bowen stated that one of the focal points is how to identify demand and supply, match-make the two, and remove historical access barriers.  Other questions to address are how can biodiesel be distributed, through the existing petroleum infrastructure or outside?  What does it take from a regulatory perspective to allow those things to happen? What can the City do from an incentive perspective that can encourage this to happen?  Chair Bowen stated that the general Biodiesel Task Force is working on these issues and will be replicated for the Marine Committee.

 

Public Comment:  Mr. Escher suggested that the Task Force prepare a letter of commendation to Alcatraz Cruises and the Red and White Fleet for their efforts in implementing biodiesel.

 

Public Comment:  Mr. Gersick asked if the Task Force considers its scope of activities specific to San Francisco and if so, suggested expanding the limits beyond the City and County to a collective regional approach.  Chair Bowen stated that because they have been created by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, their scope is limited to the City and County of San Francisco.  It was acknowledged that San Francisco does operate in the larger Bay Area, California, and global environment and hopes to set the precedent nationally. 

 

Public Comment:  Mr. von Wedel advised that there are mechanisms to integrate local, regional, and national efforts, e.g. the local Bay Area Air Quality District that will take care of the region, and the Air Resources Board statewide. The National Biodiesel Board is happy with the publicity coming out of the San Francisco area and efforts will becomes national, not just regional and state.

 

Public Comment:  Mr. von Wedel stated that CARB is revising its current biodiesel policy in vehicles, trucks, and ultimately in ferries and vessels.  The Committee and participants were urged to submit comments to CARB to encourage them to think about marine vessels and how biodiesel can improve air quality on ships.  It was stated that CARB is continuing to receive input this month and that there is a workshop on Friday to address these topics.  It was advised that there are dollars available to look into biodiesel effects on air emissions, buses, ferries, work vessels, and whatever they might have access to test.  The meeting is being held at the California EPA building in Sacramento on Friday from 9 – 1 and is also available through a web cast.

 

Public Comment:  Mr. Escher recommended that the Task Force write a letter to CARB.  Chair Bowen stated that he would address them publicly. 

 

Public Comment:  Mr. Gersick suggested that the Energy Commission would be a good resource for raising the level of effectiveness at the Air Board.  Mr. von Wedel stated that the California Energy Commission has their own working group on biodiesel and tends to go towards lower blends of biodiesel at this time.  It was advised that CARB has their own working group that has not met for some time and may be reactivated at a future time that other sectors of the community can participate in.

 

10.  DISCUSSION:  Future Agenda Items.  There were no future agenda items discussed at this time.  Future agenda items were discussed as part of previous agenda items.

 

11.  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.

 

12.  ADJOURNMENT.  The Marine Committee adjourned at 12:57 p.m.

 

 

Respectfully submitted by,

 

Monica Fish, Task Force Secretary

 

** 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.

 

Adopted:  February 13, 2007 

 

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