CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO
BIODIESEL ACCESS TASK FORCE REGULAR MEETING
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2010, 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 10:07 a.m. Present: Vice-Chair Smith, Members Burgard, Devine, Jordan (10:15 a.m.) and Swiggers; Excused: Chair Bowen and Member Clark. Advisory Members Present: Members Berman, Mellera (11:00 a.m.) and Ving. Advisory Members Excused: Members Augustine, Bali, Dennis, Kornfield, Ferry, and St. Jean.
2. Nomination and Election of Officers (Discussion and Action). Upon Motion by Vice-Chair Smith, second by Member Burgard, Member Bowen was reelected as Task Force Chair (AYES: Vice-Chair Smith, Members Burgard, Devine and Swiggers; Absent: Chair Bowen, Members Jordan and Clark). Upon Motion by Member Swiggers, second by Member Burgard, Member Smith was reelected as Vice Chair. (AYES: Vice-Chair Smith, Members Burgard, Devine and Swiggers; Absent: Chair Bowen, Members Jordan and Clark.)
3. Approval of the December 9, 2009 Biodiesel Access Task Force Regular Meeting Draft Minutes. (Explanatory Documents: December 9, 2009 Draft and Approved Minutes) (Discussion and Action) Upon Motion by Vice-Chair Smith, second by Member Swiggers, the December 9, 2009 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection. (AYES: Vice-Chair Smith, Members Burgard, Devine and Swiggers; Absent: Chair Bowen, Members Jordan and Clark.)
4. 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.
Member Jordan joined the meeting at this time.
Mr. Robert Kirsten, Sirona Fuels, discussed the threat to the nation’s biodiesel production due to the lapse of the U.S. production tax credit beginning the first of the year as well as lack of implementation of Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS2). He reported that as many as 80% of the biodiesel production facilities stopped production beginning this year. Sirona Blue Sky and Sirona Fuels is continuing production and is pricing fuel based on the expectation that the biodiesel tax credit will be reactivated retroactively. Without the tax credit, biodiesel is not competitive with petroleum diesel. He asked the Task Force to either lobby or outreach to members of Congress or Senate to extend the tax credit for five years instead of one year to secure business investments and continuing business. He reported on encouraging news that California is implementing a Low Carbon Fuel Standard which requires all biofuels production facilities to register and reduce the carbon footprint of their fuels by August 31, 2010. Vice-Chair Smith reported that the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance is working on producing letters to request that the tax credit be reenacted and is awaiting word from Chair Bowen who is in attendance at the National Biodiesel Conference this week. Members Jordan and Swiggers asked that the Task Force discuss what they can do to request reinstatement of the tax credit at their April 6 meeting.
5. Selection of 2010 Meeting Schedule for Biodiesel Access Task Force meetings (Discussion and Action). Upon Motion by Vice-Chair Smith, second by Member Burgard, the Task Force without objection selected the first Tuesday in April, June, August, October and December from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. as their meeting schedule for 2010. There was no public comment at this time. (AYES: Vice-Chair Smith, Members Burgard, Devine, Jordan and Swiggers; Absent: Chair Bowen and Member Clark.)
6. Amendment to Biodiesel Access Task Force Bylaws. Vote to approve amendments to the Bylaws due to the extension of the Task Force sunset date to December 31, 2010. (Discussion and Action) (Explanatory Documents: Notice of Proposed Amendment to Bylaws, Draft and Final Resolutions Amending Bylaws and Bylaws Amended on February 10, 2010)
Ms. Fish reported that the Task Force would be voting on a Resolution to revise their Bylaws to (1) extend the member’s term of appointment to December 31, 2010; (2) change the term of Task Force officers to December 31, 2010; (3) state that nomination and election of officers would be held on February 10, 2010; (4) select a regular meeting schedule as adopted in Agenda Item 5 for the first Tuesday in April, June, August, October and December from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.; and (5) delete the reference to the Marine Committee since the Task Force chose to absorb its functions into the full Task Force discussions. Ms. Fish reported that there was no legal requirement to add the Biofuels Permit Working Group into the Bylaws. Upon Motion by Vice-Chair Smith, second by Member Burgard, the Resolution amending the Task Force Bylaws was approved with an amendment to change the Task Force meeting date from the second Wednesday in April, June, August, October and December to the first Tuesday of those same months. There was no public comment at this time. (AYES: Vice-Chair Smith, Members Burgard, Devine, Jordan and Swiggers; Absent: Chair Bowen and Member Clark.)
Items 8 – 12 were heard before Item 7.
7. Master Fuel Contract and City Biodiesel Program Update. (Continued Discussion from the December 9, 2009 Meeting) (Discussion) SPEAKER: Member Mellera
Member Mellera reported that he is very happy with the City’s new fuel contractor, Western States, who is very responsive to quality control issues and is providing quality fuel. Tank inspections were performed at each site and extensive meetings were held with key departments and purchasing staff. He believes that all applicable City departments are using B20 with the exception of two San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) locations and the Fire Department. The Fire Department is successfully using B20 in their main quantity divisions where the most fuel throughput goes, e.g., ambulances, emergency response vehicles and are ramping up to B5 at all of their locations starting next week. The SFMTA situation remains problematic at the Kirkland Division (bus-yard) that has an underground single-walled tank. The Department of Public Health and the state has reported that this particular location can only go as high as B.99 percent. That division would be shut down in approximately five years, so economically it does not make sense to do a tank replacement program. The other MTA division has an issue of a double contained tank that has single containment on one of the outflow pipes. It would be a relatively small fix to install a conduit or a double containment system, but due to budget constraints, it remains at less than the B1 level. That site is another every other day delivery site. The good news is that MTA’s main site, the Woods Division, has been and is on B20, which is half of MTA’s fuel flow. So half of MTA’s fuel flow is at B20 and the other is at B.99. He explained problems with B1 not being written into the Master Fuel Contract and solutions being worked on.
Member Mellera reported that the fuel vendor reported that in their inspection of City tanks, most City departments are missing a particular tank filter which explains current tank issues. Meetings are planned either at the end of February or beginning of March with City representatives and purchasing staff to perform another round of tank inspections to audit and identify issues in order to have a well-maintained tank program.
Member Mellera reported that the Master Fuel Contract was signed as a one-year contract so that it could be fine-tuned when it is time for renewal. Member Jordan inquired whether the existing contract has quality assurance provisions. Member Mellera stated that it does and will be refined when it is time for renewal. He stated that the SFMTA is paying for citywide Vendor Quality Survey Report (VQSR’s), which is a large budget item to add to incremental fuel cost. He recommended that a citywide VQSR program be set up and managed by the Department of the Environment.
Member Mellera reported that the fuel vendor purchased a large amount of fuel before the decision not to renew the tax incentive, so MTA would be operating with that fuel for some time. Member Jordan inquired about the origins of the fuel. Member Mellera stated that feedstock is a blend of mostly soy, which he recommended a future discussion be held on ways to move away from soy as much as possible. He explained that because the contract is a low-bid contract, fuel source information is not being disclosed other than to say that it is from the state. He stated that a request would be made to add a future provision to the Master Fuel Contract to require disclosure of where it is coming from. Member Jordan inquired whether the contract has a provision that requires City departments to purchase specific types of biodiesel with a pricing mechanism built in to achieve that. Member Mellera stated that the Public Utilities Commission program has language that takes into account the City’s future growth in this area, but selection strictly depends on low bid.
Member Mellera reported on the good news that SFMTA had not experienced any vehicle problems for the past three years. He stated that there is a desire from the SFMTA policy and executive level to work up to as high a blend as possible, but that would require the sanction of the Department of the Environment and Department of Public Health. He stated that MTA’s climate work on the City’s transportation sector with the Mayor’s Office may influence the future possibility of progressing to a higher blend.
8. State Water Resources Control Board Underground Storage Tank (UST) Update. (Continued Discussion from the December 9, 2009 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion) SPEAKER: Chair Bowen. This agenda item was continued to the April 6 meeting.
9. Update on the Local Biofuels Permit Work Group. (Continued Discussion from the December 9, 2009 Meeting) (Discussion) SPEAKER: Member Jordan
Member Jordan reported that the Work Group would be discussing codifying regulations and laws regarding biodiesel storage handling and dispensing. He talked about the success in the community in permitting stations and plans to work with the Second Street Fire Department on Fire Code problems. The goal of the Work Group is to identify which regulations are relevant or not. Discussions will start with mobile fueling permits, storage for commercial businesses, revising dispensing requirements, and reviewing codes for residential storage volume and material regulations. Member Jordan explained that there is virtually no diesel fueling from auxiliary tanks in San Francisco according to the Fire Department.
Members Jordan and Devine inquired about the legal process as it relates to email dialogue between Work Group members. Ms. Fish reported that corresponding with more than a quorum of members would constitute a seriatim meeting. Ms. Devine asked to be included in all dialogue so she could be aware of Work Group proceedings. Ms. Fish recommended inviting legal counsel to the next meeting to address additional questions related to Work Group specifics. Member Jordan requested that all meetings be scheduled from 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. on the same day as the Task Force meetings. Member Ving commended Member Jordan on his work and accomplishments on permitting regulations for biodiesel.
10. Status update on correspondence 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. (Continued Discussion from the December 9, 2009 Meeting) SPEAKER: Member Jordan
Member Jordan reported that he is awaiting input from Member Mellera and fleet managers before presenting the letter to the Mayor’s staff and Task Force. Continued to the April 6, 2010 meeting.
11. Green Depot Program Report. (Continued Discussion from the December 9, 2009 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion) SPEAKER: Vice-Chair Smith
Vice Chair Smith reported that San Francisco Biofuels Cooperative has been officially dissolved, and all assets have been turned over to Green Depot. He stated that Mr. Veatch who is a member of the San Francisco Biofuels Cooperative is now an official member of Green Depot’s Board of Directors and oversees Green Depot funds and programming. He reported that Green Depot is holding discussions with the San Francisco Bay Railroad and the Port about potentially housing their headquarters with the San Francisco Bay Railroad.
Vice Chair Smith reported that Green Depot is currently awaiting the signed copies of a grant from the Department of the Environment to implement a green jobs curriculum and outreach program in the Bayview Hunters Point and Potrero Hill neighborhoods. Member Swiggers inquired about the recruiting mechanism. Member Jordan described the stimulus funding program that includes recruiting and interviewing people from designated environmental justice areas, providing vocational training in green jobs (biofuels, energy, and recycling sectors), job placement, and counseling. The goal is to help folks see the possibilities within the industry, gain exposure, and at the same time acquire skill-based vocational training. He recommended that neighborhood businesses who wish to participate reach out to Clean Cities who is doing the vocational training for biofuels and waste recovery.
12. Dogpatch Biofuels Update. (Continued Discussion from the December 9, 2009 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion) SPEAKER: Member Swiggers
Member Swiggers reported that the non-renewal of the biodiesel tax credit may impact future business at Dogpatch Biofuels. She stated that biodiesel is now fifty cents more expensive than diesel, which people are willing to accept; however, people may not accept $1.50 more a gallon. Member Swiggers stated that Dogpatch currently has a secure supply of fuel so it would not affect their business adversely or the price of their fuel, but if the tax credit is not reinstated soon, that situation may change since producers may have a hard time continuing production.
Public Comment: Ms. Robin Gold, Dogpatch Biofuels, stated that it would help their business if the City would purchase fuel from their station. She stated that a Department of Public Works (DPW) yard with old trucks is stationed down the street from Dogpatch and could fuel there. She reported on Member Bali’s concern about moving City vehicles from B20 to B100 because of the possibly of slightly higher NOx emissions. She believes the advantages of using a higher blend outweigh the disadvantages. Member Ving reported that the City is only structured to purchase fuel wholesale and not retail so could not purchase fuel from Dogpatch.
Member Jordan recommended that the Task Force add a future agenda item to discuss high blend programs for San Francisco. Member Ving recommended a discussion on the possibility of requiring contractors who do business with the City to use low carbon fuel and support local businesses. Member Berman discussed how the Climate Action Plan for tracking CO2 emissions may apply. Member Mellera discussed the positive aspects of using higher blends especially for older vehicles. Members Mellera and Smith reported that the City’s Construction and Demolition Ordinance requires that off-road equipment used in construction use a B20 or higher blend for public works projects of 20 days or more. Member Mellera stated that approval would be needed from the Department of the Environment and Department of Public Health to move City vehicles to a higher biodiesel blend.
13. Fat Free Biofuel LLC Refinery Update. (Continued Discussion from the December 9, 2009 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion) SPEAKER: Member Devine
Member Devine reported on Fat Free Biofuel’s shift of business plan due to current financial and business struggles. She stated that she feels there needs to be a privately owned small-scale refinery in San Francisco and in local communities across America, especially in under-served and redevelopment communities. She is considering partnerships with other businesses or people in this effort. Member Devine explained that her business model would not depend on government incentives or rebates for its success.
14. Update on the Greasecycle Program and San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) Pilot Plant. (Continued Discussion from the December 9, 2009 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion) SPEAKERS: Members Jordan and Ving
Member Ving reported that the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) will start biodiesel production of 300 gallons a day (business days) in the beginning of March. She stated that this is not a large amount of fuel, but that the purpose would be not just to make biodiesel, but to formulate a concept of making it profitably. She stated that the SFPUC is committed to using biodiesel for their use, but would try to figure out what is best for the City. An additional report would be issued at the April meeting. Member Jordan stated that the grease collection side of the program is doing very well, and there has been good outreach in expanding residential recycling programs. He stated that the Greasecycle program would be a good potential for piloting municipal or public sector components of the Green Academy.
Member Swiggers recommended more publicity for the residential drop-off program and asked to incorporate drop-off locations in advertising. Member Ving stated that advertising is expensive, and that a lot of money was spent the first year on behavior modification for restaurant owners on grease disposal. She explained that SFPUC is being as creative as possible to expand collection sites and to get the word out. Additional advertising may happen at the time of the biodiesel production kick-off.
15. Update on the Status of Darling’s Proposed Biodiesel Manufacturing Plant in San Francisco. (Continued Discussion from the December 9, 2009 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion) SPEAKER: Vice-Chair Smith
Vice Chair Smith reported on several informative and well-attended community meetings hosted by the Port of San Francisco with members of the Bayview Hunters Point community and Darling representatives about the Darling biodiesel plant. There was also a well-attended Southern Waterfront Advisory Committee (SWAC) meeting where Darling made a presentation. Vice Chair Smith stated that he subsequently spoke to several community members who feel better about Darling’s process and are now more open to the idea.
Member Berman reported that Darling had committed to do air emissions sampling and air disbursement modeling and are awaiting results. He stated that they produced a stack model analysis and will build a stack of the project to minimize the concentration of emissions at key points in the community. The other component running in parallel and independent of that process is the Planning Department’s California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) analysis of the project. Member Berman explained that Darling’s current lease does not allow a production facility and if it is approved, it will give them permission but not require them to have the facility. Vice Chair Smith stated that the SWAC Chair seems to be supportive but wants to make sure that if Darling moves forward, that there will be protections in place for the community. He stated that the PORT is doing a fantastic job in bridging the gap with the community.
16. Hazardous Material Classification of Biodiesel. (Continued Discussion from the December 9, 2009 Meeting) (Discussion) SPEAKER: Member St. Jean. This agenda item was continued to the April 6, 2010 meeting.
17. New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information and Discussion) The next Biodiesel Access Task Force meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 6th at 10:00 a.m. Ms. Fish reported that the Task Force currently has access only to current agendas and minutes on their website due to transferring of website content from the Department of Technology site to the Department of the Environment’s site. All other information such as presentations, etc. has always been housed on the Department of the Environment’s site and would not be affected. Inclusion of historical agenda and minutes are being worked on. Ms. Fish recommended inviting legal counsel to the April 6 meeting to address Biodiesel Permit Working Group communication questions as posed by members. Vice Chair Smith reported on his attendance at the Commission on the Environment meeting in January and praised Department staff for their work.
Vice-Chair Smith reported on the Chronicle article written by former Supervisor Yaki praising Sirona Fuels for their clothing drive efforts in Haiti. Mr. Kirsten was asked to provide a report on the current situation in Haiti. Mr. Kirsten stated that there has been a collapse of partner buildings, but that farming is going well and the foundation part of the business is ramping up. Outreach and collection facilities have been set up at all Fire Department locations, and there is a warehouse for collection on King Street. There are currently fifteen containers that will be sent to Haiti in the second wave of aid. The Coast Guard is handling transportation at no cost. The team will be going on Friday to do assessment and working on aid distribution and a rural electrification program. The link to the blog for additional information on Sirona Cares can be found at www.sironafuels.com. He stated that there would be more need for volunteer efforts or contributions as the situation becomes less of a news item.
Member Jordan requested a future agenda item discussion on an analysis of the citywide biodiesel program that may include high blend programs. This topic may include a discussion with a biodiesel city manager to help discuss quality of alternative fuels. Member Swiggers requested a future agenda item to address Task Force involvement in requesting reinstatement of the government tax credit.
18. 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.
19. Adjournment. The Biodiesel Access Task Force meeting adjourned at 11:50 a.m.
Respectfully submitted by,
Monica Fish, Task Force Secretary
**Copies of explanatory documents are available at (1) the Biodiesel Access 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 website with each agenda or meeting minutes at https://sites.google.com/a/sfenvironment.org/commission/biodiesel-access-task-force.
Approved: April 6, 2010