05.13 Approved Minutes

  

CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO

BIODIESEL MARINE COMMITTEE

REGULAR MEETING

 

APPROVED MINUTES

TUESDAY, MAY 13, 2008, 11:00 A.M.

 

PORT OF SAN FRANCISCO, PIER ONE

CONFERENCE ROOM BAYSIDE 3-MOVED TO EMBARCADERO ROOM

SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94102

 


TASK FORCE MEMBERS:  Eric Bowen (Chair), Richard Berman, Joe Burgard, Kate Horner, Karri Ving

 


ORDER OF BUSINESS

 

1.      Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Biodiesel Marine Committee meeting convened at 11:07 a.m.  Present:  Chair Bowen, Members Berman, Burgard and Ving. Absent: Member Horner.   

 

2.      Approval of the November 13, 2007 Biodiesel Marine Committee Regular Meeting Draft Minutes (Discussion and Action). Upon Motion by Member Ving and second by Member Berman, the November 13, 2007 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (Absent: Member Horner) (Explanatory Document: November 13, 2007 Approved Meeting Minutes).

 

3.      Biodiesel B20 Option for in Port Cruise Vessels (Discussion).

 

Member Burgard inquired whether the environmental awards program includes biodiesel as one of the recommended alternative sources for recreational users.  Member Berman reported that he believes biodiesel is one of the alternative sources recognized in the award criteria.  It was explained that award criteria had been distributed at a previous Committee meeting, and there was a request made by this Task Force to upgrade the criteria to include sustainable renewable fuels. Member Berman asked whether a letter requesting an inclusion of sustainable renewable fuels as part of the award program had ever been sent to Mr. Michael Nerney of the Port as discussed in a previous meeting.  Chair Bowen reported that a letter had not yet been sent. Member Berman stated that the Port award is fine as it is, but would like to see a separate acknowledgement of the program from the Biodiesel Marine Committee.

 

Chair Bowen asked whether Mr. Nerney could reach out to the cruise ships that he works with to survey whether they use biodiesel and then to supply the information to the Marine Committee so that an effort can be made to reach out to marine diesel users.  Chair Bowen stated that it is important to recognize the cruise lines that use biodiesel, but that the main benefit should be that there is recognition that there are multiple fleets already in the bay working with this fuel.  Member Berman reported that he would consult with Mr. Nerney, and would expect that he would support and share that information.

 

Member Burgard suggested writing recognition letters to fleets who are using biodiesel in order to raise awareness among others.  It was recommended the letter be similar to the one that the Task Force prepared for the Red and White Fleet that was signed by the Mayor. Member Burgard explained that the resistance to biodiesel use is because of unfamiliarity by operators, and as biodiesel gets more prevalent in the market, people would start to get less concerned.  It was reported that Alcatraz Cruises and Blue and Gold fleets have talked to Red and White Fleet about their biodiesel use experience. Member Berman stated that he was using Red and White Fleet’s presence in the market as an example for the small passenger fleet cruise lines.  Chair Bowen asked Member Ving to invite Mr. Ayres from General Petroleum to attend the next meeting to present an update on their use of biodiesel B5.  

 

4.      Port plans for or obstacles to increasing fueling access along the waterfront (Discussion).

 

Task Force Members discussed whether it would be feasible to work on facilitating a second land based dock fueling station for marine applications.   Member Berman stated that it is not low hanging fruit, that there is interest along the waterfront, but that there are obstacles.  Member Berman reported on the Department of Public Health’s concerns due to a release of fuel and the biodiesel compatibility issue, which may affect permit approvals in the future.   Member Burgard stated that it is critical for marine usage to have access and requested that identifying obstacles be a continuing discussion for future agendas.  A request was made to catalog what the current obstacles are in order to keep track and make additions and changes when required.  It was stated that the emphasis may differ with changing administrations.

 

Member Ving reported that the Port is looking into an eco-industrial park, are definitely greening, and would benefit from a biodiesel fueling site. The park would be a maritime use and legitimate maritime tenants are being sought after. It was explained that in Oakland, they just announced very stringent emissions plans—a fee will be incurred on their maritime users and anyone docking on their ports that would set aside a 250 million dollar fund that would be allocated to equipment upgrades, public education, etc. The focus would be on the impact that emissions have on asthma rates in surrounding communities.  Member Ving stated that many of the obstacles are brought about by some of the people that would benefit from reducing these obstacles by making biodiesel access happen.

 

Chair Bowen asked if there is use for raising the profile of this issue by the Task Force.  It was suggested that an email be sent to the Port that says:

 

“We have been looking to promote biodiesel fueling in the marine environment, here are the three ways we have identified with regard to dock-based fueling, but we have identified numerous hurdles.  We understand many of them are legitimate, but as you think through future Port plans and regulations, please keep in mind the City’s and Task Force’s desire to increase renewable fueling options on the Port and to raise the Port’s profile of this issue.”

 

Member Berman stated that communicating with the Port would be more beneficial when obstacles have been identified and more detail could be provided.  Member Burgard suggested using Task Force Member Jordan’s process to catalog the application process and creating a flow chart to cite regulations in order to educate whoever is interested in the process. Member Ving suggested spending more time at the next meeting identifying the obvious obstacles and inviting people to the meeting who could share information. Member Ving reported that Dr. von Wedel had provided her a document summary on his experiences with the Fire Department, Planning Department, and Bay Conservation Development Commission (BCDC) on the Sausalito biodiesel fuel dock installation. 

 

Member Berman suggested a future agenda item to focus on the internal obstacles at the Port that would include a discussion with Mr. Jim Maloney, Maritime Marketing Manager. Chair Bowen suggested keeping the focus on the Port at present, and then going onto the next phase.

 

Public Comment: Mr. Holloway stated that from his understanding, the City is looking to increase their distribution for biodiesel in the cruise lines coming into San Francisco and in other maritime projects.  Mr. Holloway asked if the City has given any thought to producing biodiesel themselves and bypassing a lot of their own regulatory internal issues in order to sell the biodiesel.  Chair Bowen stated that the effort is currently being led by the Mayor’s Office of Workforce and Economic Development and reported that regulatory issues would still have to be considered because City dollars would be involved. Mr. Holloway asked if there was a timeline available for this project. Member Ving stated that consideration of this effort is at an early stage and recommended that Mr. Holloway contact the Mayor’s Office of Workforce and Economic Development for current activities.

 

5.      Recreational Boater Outreach and Education--condensed Boaters Guide to Biodiesel (Discussion).

 

Member Ving reported that Dr. Von Wedel prepared a study in 1994 or 1998 on approximately 200 maritime recreational boat users that had used B100 for two years.  It was stated that the Boater’s Guide to Biodiesel contains information on the effort involved in using B100, engine modifications that would be required, basic maintenance and handling, and things to watch out for.  Member Ving stated that she would like to access the most current handbook to bring it up to 2007 standards now that biodiesel is more prevalent and to condense the guide into a concise handbook/leaflet form from what is now a multi-page manual. Member Ving stated that she has been in contact with Dr. von Wedel to access his latest revision, but that he is constantly revising, so she has not been successful yet, but would continue her effort.  This item was continued to the next meeting.

 

6.      Reference Document to Legislators on capturing the current state of Biodiesel in the marine market (Discussion).

 

Member Burgard reported that he asked that this item be placed on the agenda because he believes that the ultimate goal of the Marine Committee is to produce a document to submit to the Board of Supervisors on capturing the current state of biodiesel in the marine market.  Member Burgard inquired about the status of the document, what to include, the goals, and plans for marketing, education and outreach.  Member Ving advised that a Marine Committee section was submitted and would be reviewed at the next Biodiesel Access Task Force meeting in June.  Chair Bowen explained that there would be a document that would capture the next eighteen months of activities by the Marine Committee and should remain on the agenda for ongoing discussion.  It was explained that the required document is intended as a reference document to the general public, and is not intended for the Board of Supervisors to become biodiesel users. This agenda item was continued to the next meeting with agenda language that states “Reference document on capturing the current state of biodiesel in the marine market.”

 

7.      New Business/Future Agenda Items (Discussion).  Chair Bowen announced that the Committee would be meeting quarterly for the next 18 months, and asked what the Committee would like to accomplish in that timeframe.  Chair Bowen asked the two members of the public to introduce themselves. Mr. David Levenson, Got Grease, introduced himself and Mr. Ron Holloway, Operations Manager.  Mr. Holloway stated that his objective is to make sure that Got Grease can produce biodiesel that is entirely green from start to finish and that he is interested in City activities.  

 

The Commission Secretary inquired whether previous agenda items from the November meeting should be carried forward.  Chair Bowen and Member Ving suggested that the Gas House Cove status update should be part of the identifying obstacles agenda item and may be brought forward as a separate agenda item in the future.  Member Ving reported that she has a summary of Dr. von Wedel’s Sausalito experience that she would like to submit and requested that it be put on as a discussion item for the next meeting.  Additional future agenda items included:

 

·        Review and update of the cruise ship environmental awards--what should be accomplished over the next year and a half from a publicity standpoint. Member Berman stated that he would follow up with Port staff members to gather additional information;

 

·        Update from GP Petroleum on whether they have converted to B5.  Member Ving would invite Mr. Ayres to the next meeting.

 

·        Identifying additional fueling dock options and obstacles;

 

·        Create a report summarizing the work that has been done, and identify work to be accomplished over the next 18 months;

 

·        Boater’s Handbook review;

 

·        Promotion of biodiesel to the general public and through the Port’s communication with their tenants and users of diesel. Chair Bowen asked if there is a way that the Task Force can send out a brochure through the Port’s quarterly or monthly mailings to raise awareness and promote biodiesel.  This agenda item would include promoting General Petroleum’s use of B5.  Member Berman reported that a targeted mailing to tenants would have to include a requirement that the tenant still has to abide by the terms and restrictions of their lease.  Member Berman suggested holding a discussion on this topic with Mr. Jim Maloney.  Member Ving recommended inviting the Port’s key decision makers to a Task Force meeting to share information about the Port’s activities on biodiesel and how the Marine Committee can assist.  Member Berman stated that he and Mr. Maloney could determine who would be the most helpful in providing this information;

 

·        Creating an informational sheet on where people could purchase biodiesel, the benefits, and things you should know so that more recreational boaters would be inclined to use biodiesel. It was explained that the ultimate goal of the Marine Committee is to raise awareness of biodiesel and to put together a reservoir of knowledge before November for the private sector that wants to use biodiesel or put it for sale in the marine environment.

 

Member Ving discussed the remaining member of the Task Force who has not been participating and asked if it would be wise to appoint a member from the Southern Waterfront community or someone from the community that interacts with the Port that could assist with issues on building a biodiesel plant, additional fueling options, or on the benefits of biodiesel.  Chair Bowen indicated that he would contact Member Horner to see if she is still interested in participating.  Member Ving stated that she would work on recruitment if Member Horner were not available to participate in the future. 

 

8.      Public Comment:  Members of the public may address the Committee on matters that are within the Committee’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda. 

 

Mr. Holloway inquired as to who empowers the Task Force.  Chair Bowen reported that the Board of Supervisors created the Task Force.  Mr. Holloway asked if there were any impact studies prepared about the possibility of putting in a biodiesel plant by the water or anywhere in the city that feeds the maritime community.  Chair Bowen reported that there has been work done by private companies, the Mayor’s Office of Workforce and Economic Development, and the Port was considering a Request for Proposal. Chair Bowen stated that he does not know if there is anything in writing documenting the effort.  Member Burgard reported that the Biodiesel Access Task Force had discussed this issue at previous meetings and recommended that Mr. Holloway review meeting minutes for information.  Member Ving stated that the Marine Committee’s main concern is that biodiesel is not available to the public at large and that there is no public access in the maritime community.

 

Mr. Holloway asked whether the City had considered partnering with the business community on a biodiesel manufacturing plant venture in order to produce a viable stream of local product.  Member Ving reported that this Task Force has encouraged companies such as General Petroleum to supply biodiesel.  Chair Bowen reported that on the production side, the Department of the Environment, the Mayor’s Office, the Public Utilities Commission, Port, and private companies have put in a lot of effort over the last three years into trying to establish a biodiesel plant in San Francisco.  It was explained that most of the activity has occurred on the private sphere, not in the public sphere.  It was recommended that Mr. Holloway contact the Mayor’s Office of Workforce and Economic Development for additional information.  Mr. Holloway spoke in strong support of establishing a plant in San Francisco to produce biodiesel locally.

 

9.      Adjournment.  The Biodiesel Marine Committee Meeting adjourned at 12:07 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.

 

Approved:   August 12, 2008

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