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05.10 Approved Minutes

CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO

COMMISSION ON THE ENVIRONMENT

POLICY COMMITTEE

 

REGULAR MEETING

APPROVED MINUTES

MONDAY, MAY 10, 2010, 5:00 P.M.

City Hall, Room 421

San Francisco, CA 94102

 

COMMITTEE MEMBERS:  Commissioners Johanna Wald (Chair), Ruth Gravanis (Vice-Chair), Jane MarieFrancis Martin

 

ORDER OF BUSINESS

 

1.      Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Policy Committee meeting convened at 5:04 p.m.  Present:  Vice-Chair Gravanis and Commissioner Pelosi Jr. (Excused: Chair Wald). 

2.   Approval of Minutes of the March 8, 2010 Policy Committee Regular Meeting. (Explanatory Document: March 8, 2010 Draft and Approved Minutes) (Discussion and Action)  Upon Motion by Commissioner Pelosi Jr. second by Commissioner Gravanis, the March 8, 2010 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES:  Commissioners Gravanis and Pelosi Jr.).

3.  Public Comments:  Members of the public may address the Committee on matters that are within the Committee’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda.  There was no public comment at this time.

4.  Update on San Francisco's Bisphenol A (BPA) Resolution and Statewide and National Efforts on BPA. Sponsor:  Commissioner Johanna Wald; Speaker:  Debbie Raphael, Toxics Reduction Program Manager (Explanatory Document:  BPA Policy Summary) (Informational Report and Discussion)

 

Ms. Raphael reported that an Ordinance was written and passed banning Bisphenol A (BPA) and Phthalates without input from the Department of the Environment’s Toxics Reduction program.  She stated that the Ordinance reached her desk for review after adoption, and a memo was written to the City Attorney’s office requesting adjustments to the Ordinance.  Two lawsuits had been filed after changes to the Ordinance were under consideration.  The adjustments to the Ordinance that were being requested included a request to strengthen the phthalate language because it was weaker than the European Union’s (EU) and removing the Bisphenol A ban because it could not be justified based on the current science at that time.  There was also a concern about the type of alternatives to BPA that could be marketed. 

 

The Ordinance was amended to include a recommendation to work with retailers so that they supply alternatives to baby bottles that contain BPA.  The judgment made was that the highest risk was BPA in baby bottles, and the alternatives did not pose the same risk. Safeway made a national decision to remove BPA baby bottles from their shelves.  The Department held a press event around this effort.  Whole Foods and Walgreens already had made the decision to remove BPA bottles.  That is the current status of work accomplished on BPA products.

 

Ms. Raphael referred to the BPA Policy Summary handout (see Explanatory Document) that shows the summary of bills introduced at the local, state, national, and international level that have passed.  She pointed out that Canada has banned Bisphenol A in children’s products, and Denmark has a temporary ban on all children’s products that come into contact with food.  Ms. Raphael stated that cities across the country and some states are doing bans, and the general theme is to focus on BPA in baby bottles and children’s products. The other side of the BPA Policy Summary handout shows the initiatives in process.  Ms. Raphael pointed out that there is a bill that was going through the California legislative process that was created into a two year bill and hopefully will be resurrected this session.  She explained that the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) is making steps to list BPA as a Prop 65 reproductive toxin.  At the federal level, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) is moving to look at BPA, and the National Toxicology program has issued a report on BPA discussing their concerns.  A shift in research and findings is being seen, and there are more federal agencies voicing their concerns.   

 

Ms. Raphael reported that most recently, Senator Feinstein considered introducing a ban in the Food Safety Act that received too much pressure, so it was not introduced.   Vice-Chair Gravanis asked what the Commission could do to assist in this effort.  Ms. Raphael stated that if state legislation makes it out of Committee, the Commission could issue a Resolution of support.  If the state decides not to take action, then there is nothing more San Francisco can do at the present time.  She stated that San Francisco should be given credit for starting these conversations at the national level. San Francisco does have alternatives to BPA products available in every store, but BPA sales have not been outlawed.  The industry is moving faster than San Francisco, e.g. sports bottles are all BPA free.  The biggest challenge now is finding alternatives to BPA in the lining of infant formula cans.  Addressing the issue of can linings will have to be accomplished at the state and federal level. 

 

Acting Director Assmann inquired whether Chicago’s ban includes food containers.  Ms. Raphael stated that Chicago’s ban does not include metal cans because of FDA preemption on these products.  Ms. Raphael stated that San Francisco could start the process to issue bans on BPA in children’s cups and bottles, because so many other jurisdictions are doing it, but there may still be the threat of lawsuits.  Acting Director Assmann and Ms. Raphael discussed the environmental justice aspect of where these products are being sold, e.g. 98 cents stores.  Ms. Raphael suggested researching where products are being sold in San Francisco especially in certain communities.  Vice-Chair Gravanis suggested utilizing the assistance of the EnvironmentNow staff to do a survey.  Ms. Raphael explained that the products are not always labeled, so it may be difficult to determine the ingredients, but that disclosure could be requested from the manufacturer.  Commissioner Gravanis inquired about the Department of Public Health’s role.  Ms. Raphael stated that the Department of Public Health was not as concerned in the original analysis of BPA, but may have a different opinion now that three years later OEHHA and the National Toxicology Program are issuing their concerns. 

 

5.   San Francisco Department of the Environment Private Sector Green Building Program Update: New and Existing Buildings. Sponsor:  Commissioner Ruth Gravanis; Speaker: Barry Hooper, Green Building Specialist (Explanatory Documents: San Francisco’s Green Building Program Presentation; Mayor’s Task Force on Existing Commercial Buildings Executive Summary:  Recommendations for the City and County of San Francisco; Summary of Draft Recommendations for New Large Commercial Buildings; Example of San Francisco Building after Update for 2011 California Green Building Standards; GreenFinanceSF Fact Sheet; California Green Building Standards Mandatory Measures which are not Currently Mandatory in San Francisco; Comparative Summary of SF Green Building Requirements and California Green Building Standards; and CCSF Green Codes Summary) (Informational Report and Discussion)

 

Mr. Barry Hooper, Private Sector Green Building Specialist provided an update on San Francisco’s Green Building Program for the private sector.  The discussion included an overview of the state of Green Building in San Francisco, Green Building Ordinance updates, the Mayor’s Task Force on Existing Commercial Buildings, and the GreenFinanceSF program.  He explained that Green Building looks at the integration of as many issues that can be reasonably and effectively addressed in a particular building. It touches on imperatives that include reduction of energy use (in part to support mitigation of sea-level rise and other effects of climate change), effective management of our water resources which are both finite of themselves and are threatened by climate change, reduction of construction demolition debris (one major element of the waste stream), and that location is a factor in health effects of our built environment upon occupants.  Mr. Hooper discussed the Department of the Environment’s role in the Green Building program, which includes working on policy, incentives, outreach, and providing technical assistance to the municipal, commercial, and residential sector. 

 

Presentation topics included:

·         Priority Permitting Incentives since 2007 for Environmental Review and Building Permits.

·         San Francisco Building Code Chapter 13C Green Building requirements from 2008-2012 for new commercial, major renovations, and new residential buildings, including local required measures and historic building conservation measures.

·         Ongoing growth in green building activity in San Francisco, as measured by LEED certified square footage.

·         Commercial office occupancy data for LEED certified buildings compared with the general market.

·         Green programs that support improved building performance, including recycling and composting (Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinance), water conservation, rain water harvesting.

·         Existing Commercial Buildings Task Force report: Proposed goals and Recommendations.

·         Energy Star Buildings and LEED 2009 for Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance.

·         Top 25 Cities with the Most Energy Star Labeled Buildings in 2009 – (San Francisco Number 3).

·         Status of Existing Commercial Buildings benchmarks and audit legislation.

·         GreenFinanceSF program and process.

·         Existing Commercial Building Strategy impact estimate.

·         Prototype mechanisms to display building performance indicators: Urban EcoMap data overlay on 3D model of San Francisco buildings, communicating relationship between density and residential greenhouse gas emissions by zip code.

 

Commissioner Pelosi Jr. stated that the Mayor’s Task Force on Green Building did a good job and the Executive Summary is thorough.  He stated that he thinks that the outreach program will be easier than expected, and that the resistance to the program would be seen over time. He suggested focusing on education.  Commissioner Pelosi Jr. stated that it would be important to see what happens when the program moves from large buildings to small buildings, e.g., if there will be cooperation, if there are legal challenges to the ordinance on existing buildings, and the burden on the building owner.  Commissioner Pelosi Jr. and Acting Director Assmann discussed the long lead time in large construction projects due to the recession and resulting growth curve.  Acting Director Assmann stated that it is incumbent to support efforts for renovation of existing buildings because greenhouse gas emission goals would not be met otherwise. He discussed the obstacles in the transportation sector for meeting reduction in greenhouse gas emission goals because of current budget cutbacks that would lead people away from public transportation.

 

Commissioner Gravanis inquired about the response received on the GreenFinanceSF program. Mr. Hooper stated that as of last week, three applications have been approved and are near completion, and several hundred contractors have been trained.  Ms. Raphael stated that she is happy that the response has not been overwhelming so that efforts can be focused toward outreach to the contractors who are needed to do the job.  She stated that there are at least an additional dozen applications being processed at the present time.  A substantial increase is expected as contractors begin promoting the program, particularly if additional expected federal incentives such as the Home Star program are approved.  She discussed the Department’s partnership with Renewable Funding to work on training as well as the California Energy Commission’s funding of the program and AB811 standards for PACE property assessments. 

 

Commissioner Gravanis asked how the Commission can provide their input.  Mr. Hooper asked the Commission for an endorsement of the Department’s approach - continuing the green building leadership standard policy enacted in 2008 with amendments to accommodate California’s new Green Building Standards Code, and referred to specific updates being recommended to the 2008 Green Building Ordinance as shown in the handout “Comparison of Applicability of SF Green Building Requirements and California Green Building Standards.”  He stated that an opportunity exists for San Francisco to create policy with regard to major renovations of existing buildings at a later date.  Commissioner Pelosi Jr. requested a summary from Mr. Hooper on how the Commission can assist in this effort.

 

Public Comment:  Ms. Melanie Nutter asked if the GreenFinanceSF program would coordinate with the funds that may become available from the Federal HomeStar program.  Ms. Raphael responded that it would.

 

6.   Director’s Updates.  Speaker:  David Assmann, Acting Director (Informational Report and Discussion) Acting Director Assmann stated that the Department is expanding its energy efficiency programs and would be hiring six people in the next eight weeks and one additional hire for another program.  A reorganization of the building would be necessary as a result.  The Department is in its final stages of the budget process and will be answering questions from the Board of Supervisors Budget Analyst.  The labor agreement was voted on and finalized.  The budget would be heard at the Board of Supervisors on June 7th.  Acting Director Assmann reported that landfill negotiations is a priority item-- there have been two sessions on landfill negotiations and another one is scheduled.  The goal is to bring the contract to the Board of Supervisors for a vote before the end of June.

 

7.   Announcements. (Discussion) There were no announcements made at this time.

 

8.   New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Discussion)  Commissioner Gravanis inquired about the timeline for the Strategic Plan.  Acting Director Assmann stated that a presentation on the Strategic Plan could be made to the Policy Committee approximately two months after the new Department Director hire in order to provide him or her with an opportunity for input into the Plan.  Commissioner Gravanis inquired about the status of the Candlestick Environmental Impact Report (EIR) certification and Treasure Island EIR that is scheduled for June or July.  She stated that she would consult with Ms. Jennifer Kass to report on the timeline for approval for both projects as well as the status of the Sustainability Plan for both projects.   She asked that staff review Treasure Island’s Design for Development Agreement and provide comments.    

 

9.   Public Comments:  Members of the public may address the Committee on matters that are within the Committee’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda.  There was no public comment at this time.

 

10.  Adjournment. The Commission on the Environment Policy Committee meeting adjourned at 6:00 p.m.

 

Monica Fish, Commission Secretary

TEL:  (415) 355-3709; FAX: (415) 554-6393

 

** Copies of explanatory documents are available at (1) the Commission’s office, 11 Grove Street, San Francisco, California between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., (2) on the Committee meeting website https://sites.google.com/a/sfenvironment.org/commission/policy-committee with each agenda or meeting minutes, or (3) upon request to the Commission Secretary, at telephone number 415-355-3709 or via e-mail at Monica.Fish@sfgov.org.

 

*Approved: June 14, 2010

 

 

 

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