CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO
BIODIESEL ACCESS TASK FORCE REGULAR MEETING
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 5, 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, and Benjamin Jordan. Advisory: 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 10:16 a.m. Present: Chair Bowen, Vice-Chair Smith (11:00 a.m.), Members Burgard, Clark (10:25), Devine, and Jordan; Advisory Members Present: Member St. Jean. Advisory Members Excused: Members Augustine, Dennis, Ferry, Kornfield, and Ving; Advisory Members Absent: Members Bali, Berman and Mellera.
2. Approval of the August 3, 2010 Biodiesel Access Task Force Regular Meeting Draft Minutes. (Explanatory Document: August 3, 2010 Draft Minutes) (Discussion and Action) Upon Motion by Chair Bowen, second by Member Jordan, the October 5, 2010 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES: Chair Bowen, Members Burgard, Devine and Jordan; Absent: Members Clark and Smith).
3. 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.
Meeting agenda items were heard in this consecutive order after Item 3: Items 5, 15, 13, 12, 7, 10, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 14, 16-18.
4. Consideration of Request for Extension of Biodiesel Access Task Force Sunset Date and/or Change in Scope of Work. (Discussion and Action) Sponsor and Speaker: Chair Bowen
Chair Bowen discussed the history of the Task Force inception in 2006 and request for extension in 2008 stating that the Task Force had considered expanding their scope in 2008 to a Biofuels Task Force but in the interest of time maintained their current scope. Task Force members were asked for their input whether to (1) extend the current sunset date of December 31, 2010 and (2) if the current scope should be expanded to include all biofuels.
Vice-Chair Smith reported on his discussion with Supervisor Mirkarimi about a potential Biofuels Task Force and City B5 mandate. He stated that he would be willing to issue a request to the Supervisor for an extension and to expand the scope to include biofuels. Vice-Chair Smith stated that Supervisor Mirkarimi believes that biodiesel is a viable and important fuel.
Member Jordan stated that he would like to continue his work with the Biofuels Permit Working Group and stated it would be a challenge to complete work that is in progress by December. He recommended that the Task Force continue its work as a Biofuel Task Force in order to provide access and maintain support for City staff in meeting their greenhouse gas emission goals and acquiring an alternate fuel setting. On the implementation side, work has to be done to make sure City fleets reach a B20 level. Member Jordan stated that a B5 mandate is possible and that he would like to discuss Portland’s success in this area. He stated that he could provide a longer list for the extension legislation. He suggested a two-year extension, modifying the name to Biofuels Task Force, and maintaining an every two-month meeting schedule.
Member Devine stated that working on the permitting process is important and suggested advocating for Code changes. She agreed that the Task Force should expand its scope to a Biofuels Task Force. She stated that the Task Force should discuss the financial and political reasons that biofuel is not successful. Member Devine discussed the City’s public transportation-first policy and suggested that there be a reduction of City employee use of electric cars so City employees and officials can use public transportation.
Member St. Jean reported on her concern with the Master Fuel Contract and discussed current state regulatory, compliance and enforcement actions. She agreed that the Task Force should be leading the way for all of the alternative biofuels, and that she would continue to provide permit assistance tools for this group. Member St. Jean suggested that the Task Force stay in synch with the alternative fuels and work within the parameters cited in the Cal EPA Fuels Guidance Document. Chair Bowen suggested adding this document to the Biodiesel Access Task Force website.
Member Clark stated that the Task Force should continue to either expose or mind the new information brought forward at today’s meeting, e.g. pricing unreliability. The Task Force should continue work on the diesel particulate filter problem because manufacturers are reducing access with vehicles they are producing. He reported that the Department of the Environment is promoting electric vehicles and hybrids at all their green car events, but he has not seen biodiesel vehicles promoted. He discussed the economic diversity of people who can purchase new vehicles to reduce greenhouse gases and average folks who are more economically challenged and could contribute to reducing greenhouse gases by buying used vehicles. He is seeing access to biodiesel threatened more. This body is the only conduit to work on alternate fuel use and provide advice to the Board of Supervisors, especially about the potential of saving the City money, especially with the issue of biodiesel price manipulation. It should continue.
Member Burgard stated that he does not have a strong opinion, but sees that other members are bringing out valuable information and agrees with the importance to continue. Vice-Chair Smith stated that marine work is important to the biofuel world. Member Burgard requested that a document that outlines unfinished business and what broadening the scope would include be presented at the December 7 meeting.
Chair Bowen suggested consulting with the Commission on the Environment or the Department of the Environment on their position on low-carbon transportation. Vice-Chair Smith explained that the Department and Commission are looking more at electric vehicles and sees the City moving to a hybrid combination of gas and electric or all electric models. He discussed the viability of converting the diesel school buses to biodiesel. Chair Bowen suggested that the Task Force take a vote in December and in the meantime have a conversation with Supervisor Mirkarimi and set up a meeting with a Commission on the Environment member for their input on expansion of the Task Force scope.
Mr. Robert Kirsten, Sirona Fuels, stated that the Task Force should continue its work and take on more of a leadership role. He asked what the City would do when low-carbon fuel standards that are working their way through California are implemented, and biodiesel producers are being put out of business. Mr. Kirsten stated that moving forward the Task Force should focus on what can be done about greenhouse gas emissions today.
Ms. Virginia Klausmeier stated that she has been attending Task Force meetings for the past eighteen months and commended the Task Force for its valuable and progressive work. She stated that she would like to see the scope expanded to biofuels and to have room for discussions about other progressive technologies that are not being captured and would be a direct link to public transportation and other networks. She offered to do a presentation on an alternative fuel network at the December 7 meeting.
5. Biodiesel Access Task Force Report to the Board of Supervisors. The Task Force will discuss creating an updated report of work and accomplishments since issuance of the last report in November 2008. (Explanatory Document: Biodiesel Report Table of Contents) (Discussion and Action) Sponsor and Speaker: Chair Bowen
Chair Bowen suggested that the Task Force prepare an updated report to send to the Board of Supervisors that would be made available to the public that would include updates for the past two years. Task Force members reviewed the November 2008 Biodiesel Access Task Force Report Table of Contents in order to identify sections of the report that require updating. Edits and or updates were suggested to the following sections: Work Performed: Biodiesel City Fleet and Public Transportation; Fee Waivers for Permitting of Biodiesel Dispensing; Permitting for Biodiesel Dispensing; State Water Board Review of Underground Storage Tanks (UST).
Additional updates that were suggested included adding/quantifying the emissions work related to the City’s biodiesel use; adding sections on Darling International efforts and long-term biodiesel availability in San Francisco; the Biofuel Recycling program including the brown grease to biodiesel project; the B5 mandate; attaching the diesel particulate filter letter; Fat Free Biofuel and Dogpatch update, state of industry section for state and federal initiatives; and presentations by Fat Free and Sirona. Member Burgard suggested including the “Effect of Biodiesel on Emissions from a Tier II Marine Propulsion Engine” that he would provide information on. Chair Bowen suggested that Member Burgard provide updates to the Marine section and stated that he would check with Member Ving on additional updates. Chair Bowen and Member Jordan would work on the report and submit a draft for approval at the next meeting. Member Jordan accepted the role as lead author and coordinator of the report. Ms. Fish was asked to provide copies of presentations given since publication of the last report.
6. City Biodiesel Pilot Program discussion on the acceptance of biodiesel and biodiesel blends across the city to ensure all fleets are capable to run the Mayor’s minimum mandate and have sufficient support in determining higher blend pilot programs. (Continued Discussion from the August 3, 2010 Meeting) (Discussion) Sponsor/Speaker: Member Jordan
This agenda item was continued to the December 7, 2010 meeting.
7. Update on the Greasecycle Program and San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) Pilot Plant. (Continued Discussion from the August 3, 2010 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion) Speaker: Member Jordan
Member Jordan stated that the SF Greasecycle program is doing well and collecting vegetable oil that is sent to local California-based producers such as Sirona Fuels, Bently, Yokayo, and Coachella IWP. Member Burgard inquired whether there was an outlet for residential grease recycling. Member Jordan reported that there are outlet locations that include Dogpatch Biofuels, the HANC Recycling Yard, Whole Foods, and Costco during Thanksgiving and Christmas. He stated that there is a goal to do curbside pickup in the future.
Public Comment: Mr. Kirsten questioned whether some of the producers listed above should be considered local. Chair Bowen inquired about Sirona Fuel’s experience with feedstock received from the Greasecycle program. Mr. Kirsten reported that it has been pretty good quality but not as good as Sirona collects or purchases themselves. It was stated that the City is producing reasonably good quality fuel and more should be produced. Mr. Kirsten reported that he is frustrated with the City’s contracting system that makes it difficult to sell biodiesel back into the system and discussed Sirona Fuels inability in working with Western States. He stated that Oil Petroleum Index Service (OPIS) for biodiesel is unreliable and is prone to upward manipulation. He suggested that the Task Force work on the pricing in the Master Fuel Contract because of inaccuracies and its affect on access to biodiesel. He asked how it would be possible to move to higher blends when an artificial premium is being paid which is being artificially inflated.
8. Update on the Status of Darling’s Proposed Biodiesel Manufacturing Plant in San Francisco. (Continued Discussion from the August 3, 2010 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion) Speaker: Vice-Chair Smith
Vice-Chair Smith reported that he has been involved with a long series of community meetings between Darling International and the Port on Darling’s proposed biodiesel manufacturing plant. He stated that Darling is ready to go to the Port Commission with their intention to go forward, and that he would be in attendance at the meeting to support the Port’s efforts. Vice-Chair Smith was asked to send the meeting announcement to Ms. Fish to send to members.
9. Legislative update on the Biodiesel Fuel Tax Credit and discussion on Industry Impact. (Continued Discussion from the August 3, 2010 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion) Sponsor/Speakers: Chair Bowen and Member Jordan
Chair Bowen reported that there is no tax credit at this time and it may or may not be coming back. He stated that it is not a good situation particularly in states that don’t have programs and also in those that have programs. He stated that this is having a big impact in California.
10. Master Fuel Contract and City Biodiesel Program Update. (Continued Discussion from the August 3, 2010 Meeting) (Discussion) Speaker: Chair Bowen
Chair Bowen stated that he does not know about the state of the current extension or non-extension of the Master Fuel contract and asked Member Jordan to inquire as to who is responsible for the contract. He stated that he would be willing to send an email about two primary concerns (1) at the time the contract was designed the OPIS B20 seemed a reliable reflection of fair value. Since then, data has surfaced that may no longer be the case, and there is a question whether that should be revisited as a pricing index; and (2) since the last fuel contract, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has published life cycle data on biodiesel, which the City should adopt and incorporate into the Master Fuel Contract. That would be a good evolution and improvement in the overall contract, but he does not know whether it could be inserted into an extension. Chair Bowen discussed his concern that this information is not relayed in such a way to put biodiesel in a bad light.
Public Comment: Mr. Kirsten discussed the unreliability of OPIS pricing for biodiesel stating that it is completely voluntary and there are no controls as to what can be reported. He asked whether the City is evaluating the emissions reduction from biodiesel use. Chair Bowen stated that they are. Mr. Kirsten stated that should be incorporated into the California low carbon fuel standards data or the renewable fuel standard data, and that people should be able to pay more for greater emissions reductions. There is no connection there at all. You are paying more for less emissions reductions. It allows people to import fuel at a greater carbon footprint and sell at a premium forcing the local producers out of business. He asked the Task Force to discuss how to keep local producers in business. Member Jordan discussed ranking producers based on established criteria, locking in prices, and requiring distributors to provide fuel from this list of producers. Member Devine discussed her inability to get a copy of the Master Fuel Contract so that input could be provided in a timely manner. Mr. Kirsten suggested that the City Attorney look into the pricing.
11. State Water Resources Control Board Underground Storage Tank (UST) Update. (Continued Discussion from the August 3, 2010 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion) Speaker: Chair Bowen
Chair Bowen reported that there is a fair amount of ongoing work in progress on this topic. The National Biodiesel Board is working with the California Biodiesel Alliance who has two contractors working in California with underground storage tank owners helping them go through the variance process and being an interface between them and equipment manufacturers. The progress is not perfect. The National Biodiesel Board funding cycle was just completed on September 30, and there is a question about what financial resources are available for ongoing work. This continues to be an important issue. Chair Bowen stated that this morning he saw correspondence from the United States Military indicating that they want to not only continue but expand their biodiesel programs and inquired how to apply. He stated that the UST issue continues to be a wide concern.
12. Update on the Local Biofuels Permit Work Group. (Continued Discussion from the August 3, 2010 Meeting) (Discussion) Speaker: Member Jordan
Member Jordan reported that there was a quorum for today’s Biofuels Permit Working Group meeting and thanked all participants. He stated that the meeting included Department of Public Health and Planning Department participants, and that he would be reaching out to the Building Department and making sure that Fire Department components are integrated. Member Jordan reported that the Work Group is utilizing the fueling scenarios in order to create a Code Compliance Guidance document that would include an Introduction, different scenarios to decide which to fit into, and how to be compliant sections. A companion document of best management practices on fueling, storage, and handling is also being worked on. Work is in progress in the next two months to put the responses to all fueling scenarios in place, vet the information internally within the group, and prepare a draft of the document for the December 7 meeting
13. 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 August 3, 2010 Meeting) (Explanatory Document: Correspondence to Engine Manufacturers) Speaker: Member Jordan (Discussion and Possible Action)
Member Jordan reported that a letter to engine manufacturers was drafted and approved by the Task Force at a previous meeting and is the same one that is on www.savebiodiesel.org. He encouraged Task Force members to individually go to www.savebiodiesel.org to sign on to the petition to make sure that engine manufacturers are aware that their emission control strategies impact fuel choice. Member Jordan reported that there had also been discussion about a letter coming from the Mayor’s desk that may be requested in the future. Chair Bowen reported that the letter requires updates and asked the Task Force to authorize him to work in conjunction with the appropriate Task Force members on those edits. Member Jordan motioned, second by Member Burgard to authorize Chair Bowen to make those updates (AYES: Chair Bowen, Members Burgard, Clark, Devine and Jordan; Absent: Member Smith). Member Jordan reported that he would provide a list of addresses of engine manufacturers and interested parties to send the letter to.
Member Clark suggested sending a copy of the letter to Green Car Award contacts and automotive writers about green cars. Member Jordan agreed that it would be beneficial to include anyone that helps guide consumers on vehicle choices and falls into an environmental category. Member Burgard suggested sending a copy to Caterpillar. Member Jordan reported that Caterpillar is a manufacturer that is not using this technology and that others should be copying.
14. Green Depot Program Report. (Continued Discussion from the August 3, 2010 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion) Speaker: Vice-Chair Smith
Vice-Chair Smith reported that Green Depot and Biofuel Recycling, its partner, are coming to the end of their program. He stated that he is encouraged and has had great meetings with folks about their green jobs building endeavors as well as Supervisor Maxwell and Mr. Harrington, General Manager of the Public Utilities Commission, to expand the program. A report will be submitted to Ms. Eng of the Department of the Environment and others shortly. Vice-Chair Smith stated that a lot of outreach on biodiesel has been done and more people know about biodiesel now than ever before.
15. Fat Free Biofuel LLC Refinery Update. (Continued Discussion from the August 3, 2010 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion) Speaker: Member Devine
Member Devine reported that she gave up her property location but still has all the Planning Department approvals. She stated that the location will be a car wash soon, and that she hasn’t decided whether to approach the new lessee to see if he wants a new tank installed. Member Devine reported that she is open to any other type of business venture using the Fat Free Biofuel and is trying to rewrite her business plan.
16. New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information and Discussion)
Vice-Chair Smith reported that he and Member Jordan had met with Ms. Partin of the Mayor’s Office to discuss a B5 mandate and other important issues. He stated that the City and County of San Francisco has been working with an organization founded by Mr. William McDonough who wrote a book called Cradle to Cradle to look at San Francisco’s waste streams to see how they are being used and how they can be more efficient. Biodiesel members and all relevant City departments will be part of that discussion and the work that is being done. Vice-Chair Smith reported that he attended a West Coast Green conference that included a great lecture about sustainability and the future of the planet. Member Jordan requested that a City B5 mandate discussion be placed on the December 7 agenda.
17. 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.
18. Adjournment. The Biodiesel Access Task Force meeting adjourned at 12:00 noon.
The next meeting of the Biodiesel Access Task Force is scheduled for Tuesday, December 7, 2010, in City Hall, Room 278.
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: December 7, 2010