09.10.12 Policy Committee Meeting Approved Minutes





MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2012, 5:00 P.M.




COMMITTEE MEMBERS:  Commissioners Johanna Wald (Chair), Ruth Gravanis (Vice-Chair), Joshua Arce


  1. Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Commission on the Environment Policy Committee meeting convened at 5:20 p.m. Commission Secretary Fish announced that Commission President Matt Tuchow appointed Commissioner Joshua Arce to the Committee. Commissioners welcomed Commissioner Arce to the Committee. Present:  Commissioners Wald, Gravanis, and Arce.


  1. Approval of Minutes of the August 13, 2012 Policy Committee Regular Meeting. (Explanatory Document: August 13, 2012 Policy Committee Draft Minutes) (Discussion and Action)  Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Arce, the August 13, 2012 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection.


  1. 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.


  1. Update on and Review of Carbon Emission Reduction Scenarios of the Proposed CleanPowerSF Program. Sponsor: Commissioner Ruth Gravanis, Speaker Danielle Murray, Renewable Energy Program Manager (Discussion and Possible Action)

Commissioner Gravanis stated that after review of the City’s Sustainability and Climate Action Plans and greenhouse gas reduction goals, the Department determined that the City’s climate and renewable energy goals could not be met without a green purchasing power option such as CleanPowerSF, a community choice aggregation program.  Public Utilities Commission representative, Mr. Mike Campbell, had presented to the Committee in February on the program and community advocates discussed their concerns at a special meeting in April, many of which she understands have since been addressed, and the advocates are now in support of the program. Commissioner Gravanis suggested that the Commission and Committee support the CleanPowerSF proposal that will be before the Board of Supervisors in September in order to be consistent with the City’s climate and renewable energy goals.

Ms. Danielle Murray presented on the history of the Department of the Environment’s involvement in trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increasing renewable energy in San Francisco and the relevant City climate and energy policies that drive this work (listed on slide 2).  She reported on the ability of the CleanPowerSF program to help meet the City’s 100% renewable electricity goal and have significant greenhouse gas emission reduction impacts in order to meet City goals and targets.  Ms. Murray described Phase 1 of the program that the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee would be considering on September 12 (slide 3) and discussed greenhouse gas impact scenarios based on participation rates in residential and commercial scenarios (slide 4).       

Commissioner Gravanis requested additional information on the Controller’s Office economic analyses on the impact the program would have in reducing jobs.  Ms. Murray reported that the analyses showed that there would be a very small resultant job loss in San Francisco based on the theory that the small increase in rates would stop people from spending money elsewhere and result in an effect on the City’s economy. The analyses included the impacts of funding for GoSolarSF and other energy and efficiency programs. She questioned whether there would be a significant economic impact on discretionary consumer spending based on the small increase in rates, noted that the economic benefits of the GoSolarSF incentive funds had been underestimated compared to historical data, and discussed the significant benefit that would result from greenhouse gas reduction and increase in renewable energy. 

Commissioner Wald inquired whether the City is considering programs for lower income residents that would consider the increase to be significant. Ms. Murray reported on state programs available to low-income residents to reduce utility costs and the current plan of the City to adopt equivalent rate reductions (of 20%) for lower-income residents to participate in program. She discussed the ability of the program to spur local renewable energy build-out and offer jobs to people from disadvantaged communities that would help achieve environmental and social justice targets. 

Commissioner Arce discussed the importance of the addition of funds into the legislation for the GoSolarSF program that has generated a large number of jobs and provided environmental benefits. He suggested that the Department and Commission play an important role in securing statewide funding for the GoSolarSF program that would affect the result of the economic impact report.   Commissioner Arce reported that the economic analyses did not address the local jobs that could be created through a local build-out in place of Shell buying clean energy on the market.  Ms. Murray reported that there is a provision in the contract under consideration for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) to procure local power generation in place of power that Shell would be contracting for on the energy market.

Public Comment:

Mr. Eric Brooks, representing SF Green Party and Our City, reported on the support of community advocates for the CleanPowerSF legislation based on the inclusion of a full local build-out that would result in a large number of jobs created and would make the current economic analyses superfluous. He discussed a 1999 resolution directing the state to start Community Choice Aggregation in California, the passage of the H Bond Revenue Authority so voters would not have to be consulted for revenue bonds to be applied to clean energy and efficiency programs specifically for CleanPowerSF, and CleanPowerSF goals included in the 2004 Climate Action Plan.  Mr. Brooks expressed his opposition to including hydro as a renewable energy source. He stated that the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee would be considering the CleanPowerSF Resolution and Ordinance on September 12th that would be before the full Board on September 18 and 25.   He suggested that the Committee and full Commission encourage the Board of Supervisors to pass the Resolution and Ordinance to enact the CleanPowerSF Program, and stated that the Commission's support will impact the Mayor’s decision after the final vote.

Ms. Gwynn McLellan, organizer with the Sierra Club Bay Chapter, stated that she is advocating for CleanPowerSF, a program that would provide an opportunity for San Francisco to take a strong leadership role, create local jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, address the impacts of climate change throughout the United States, and encourage more competition in the energy market.  She encouraged urging the mayor and empowering the Public Utilities Commission to create power options for San Francisco residents through this program.

Mr. (name unclear) advocated for more research into wave power as a way to reduce carbon emissions. He discussed work in Europe and a project in Reedsport, Oregon, that is utilizing wave technology.  He suggested that San Francisco consider purchasing power from Reedsport as a way to assist the city in their research and meeting renewable energy goals. Ms. Murray reported on the Wave Power Feasibility Study that was completed by the City for Ocean Beach and related environmental studies and tech assessments.

Mr. Adam Stern, Department Climate Program Manager, reported that the Marin Energy Association is currently serving 15,000 customers through their community choice aggregation program and may be serving up to 50,000 customers in their next phase.  He reported that a number of other cities have developed various models of community choice aggregation, and that Cincinnati has enrolled all their 300,000 residents.  He suggested that San Francisco sustain its leadership in this area and consider taking an ambitious approach. Ms. Murray reported that Richmond has joined the Marin Energy Community Choice Aggregation Program and that Sonoma is currently considering a program.

Commissioner Gravanis spoke of her concerns with hydro specific to impact on critters.  Ms. Murray reported that reaching 100% renewable energy would depend on Hetch Hetchy as a resource. Commissioner Wald stated that the California conservation community has developed siting criteria for large scale renewable projects that the Committee could hold a discussion with the PUC about adopting.  Commissioner Arce suggested that the Commission and PUC hold a joint meeting to discuss working together on siting, the solar program, and wave power.

Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Arce, the Committee voted to approve Resolution language to forward to the Board of Supervisors in support of the CleanPowerSF Resolution and Ordinance before the Board of Supervisors.  A Resolution would also be presented to the full Commission to consider at its September 20, 2012 meeting. (Draft Resolution File 2012-01-Policy and Draft Resolution File 2012-09-COE) (AYES:  Commissioners Wald, Gravanis, and Arce).

  1. Review and Approval of Draft Resolution File 2012-05-COE Supporting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Use of the Clean Air Act to Reduce Carbon in our Atmosphere. (Explanatory Document:  Draft and Amended Resolution File 2012-05-COE) Sponsor and Speaker:  Commissioner Wald (Discussion and Action)

Commissioner Wald thanked Ms. Scarlett Russell for attending the Commission retreat and bringing this issue to the attention of the Commission and for sending the Draft Resolution.  Ms. Russell reported that she had spoken with Supervisor Kim to request her sponsorship of a Resolution in support of the Clean Air Act.  Commissioner Arce discussed the history, barriers, and urgency around implementation of the Clean Air Act and his role as an attorney litigating on this case.  He offered his support in advocating for the Board of Supervisors passage of a Resolution in support of the Clean Air Act.

Public Comment:  Mr. Eric Brooks stated that it is important to acknowledge the Obama administration for their support of the Clean Air Act to help global warming, and that San Francisco should recognize this effort.

Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Arce, Draft Resolution File 2012-05-COE was approved for recommendation to the Commission with amendments to insert language on the steps the City has taken against climate change and for clean air (AYES:  Commissioners Wald, Arce and Gravanis). (Explanatory Document:  Amended Draft Resolution File 2012-05-COE.)

  1. Review and approval of Draft Resolution File 2012-06-COE Supporting the Proposed Expansion of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary to the Golden Gate Bridge and into San Francisco Bay. (Explanatory Document:  Draft Resolution and Amended Draft Resolution File 2012-06-COE) Sponsor and Speaker:  Commissioner Gravanis (Discussion and Action)

Commissioner Gravanis reported that former Commissioner Steven Krefting had brought to the Commission’s attention a proposal by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to expand the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary to the Golden Gate Bridge. She proposed that a further expansion into San Francisco Bay be considered. Commissioner Gravanis explained that the sanctuary was created a number of years ago, and a decision was made to carve out an exclusion zone “doughnut hole” because of the amount of shipping activity that took place in that area and the amount of sewage being discharged in the ocean. These problems have since been addressed.Commissioner Gravanis reported that the America’s Cup One World Oceans campaign has also been involved in the effort to remove the exclusion zone and support the sanctuary’s extension to the Golden Gate Bridge for protection of the wildlife that uses the “doughnut hole”.

Public Comment:

Mr. Steven Krefting, representing the San Francisco League of Conservation Voters, spoke in support of the Resolution and expansion into San Francisco Bay that would contribute to the health of the sanctuary.He explained that the sanctuary designation prevents gas, oil, and mineral-production, and protects against discharges and damage to the seafloor, and adds protection of wildlife within sanctuary boundaries.

Mr. Eric Brooks spoke in support of the Resolution.

Ms. Scarlett Russell discussed the potential conflict between the production of clean energy wave power and the effect this technology may have in the marine environment.Mr. Krefting explained that this issue could be worked out in the implementation of the sanctuary. Ms. Russell discussed an article she had read reporting that wave power machinery can increase the temperature in the water and harm the surrounding ecosystem.

Mr. (name unclear) discussed alternative technologies that would solve the problem of temperature increase in the water and suggested that the Resolution include language not precluding wave power.

Ms. Danielle Murray stated that environmental review would be required to determine whether sanctuary designation would preclude wave power development.

Commissioner Arce suggested amendments to the Resolution to add a further resolved clause that “the Commission does not view the environmental goals of this Resolution as inconsistent with the potential development of renewable energy resources as accompanied by appropriate environmental review in the future.”

Commissioner Gravanis proposed amendments to (1) include the “local stock of harbor porpoises that inhabits both the “doughnut hole” and San Francisco Bay and (2) changing wording in the last clause to state species that “use or may use the marine environment”.

Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Arce, Resolution File 2012-06-COE was approved for recommendation to the Commission on the Environment as amended (AYES:Commissioners Wald, Gravanis and Arce) (Explanatory Document:Amended Draft Resolution File 2012-06-COE)

  1. Identify Action Items to Achieve Selected Goals for Calendar Year 2012.  (Continued from the August 13, 2012 Meeting) Sponsor:  Director Nutter, Commissioners Wald and Gravanis (Discussion and Possible Action)
    1. Department of the Environment’s Proposed Strategic Plan Goals and how the Strategic Plan and Planning Process Affect the Four Priorities previously Selected by the Policy Committee.
    2. Strategies for prioritizing Policy Committee activities.


This agenda item was continued to the October 22, 2012 Policy Committee meeting.


  1. Quarterly Review of Commission on the Environment and its Committees Accomplishments for 2012. (Continued from the August 13, 2012 Meeting) (Explanatory Document:  Commission and Committee Agenda Topic Accomplishments) (Discussion and Possible Action to Identify Accomplishments)

Commissioner Wald reported that the Committee has been holding quarterly reviews to identify its accomplishments for inclusion into the Commission’s Annual Report that is submitted to the Mayor and Board of Supervisors in January.  Commissioner Wald selected the Clean Air Act and Expansion of the Monterey Marine Bay Sanctuary Resolutions and identification of priority goals for Committee work as accomplishments to add.  She asked that Commissioner Arce approve the priority goals selected by the Committee at the next Policy Committee meeting. 

Commissioner Wald asked Mr. Stern to provide comment as to whether the Committee’s input made a difference in identifying climate action strategies and the Renewable Energy Task Force recommendations. Director Nutter reported that the Committee played a key role in serving as a public venue for the America’s Cup Sustainability and Zero Waste Plan. Commissioner Arce suggested adding metrics on jobs created as a result of the Committee’s efforts in keeping sustainability a major part of the America’s Cup Event Authority’s mandate for the event.  Commissioner Wald suggested adding these topics to how the Committee made a difference section of the Annual Report.  She reported that a Draft Report would be prepared for the Commission’s review for approval in November and would be finalized and published in January.

  1. Director’s Report and Updates.  (Explanatory Document:  Director’s Report) Speaker: Melanie Nutter, Director (Informational Report and Discussion)

Director Nutter highlighted key activities for the Department since the last Policy Committee meeting in August (1) staff hires; (2) focus on senior staff and Commission retreat and development of Strategic Plan goals; (3) department move and efforts to identify sponsors to reach LEED Platinum with a limited budget; and (4) upcoming events.  She reported on lawsuits pertaining to the checkout bag ordinance in which a decision is expected this week by the Supreme Court, and that a judge has put a stay on further implementation of the cell phone ordinance.  Commissioner Wald reported that a federal government agency recently published a report questioning the safety of cell phones. 

Commissioner Arce suggested that the Department start taking ownership of job creation as a result of sustainability efforts and policies.  Director Nutter reported on a staff project to review the Department’s policies and programs and impact on jobs in the economy. She discussed challenges in tracking jobs and asked for Commissioner Arce’s expertise and assistance in this effort.

Commissioner Gravanis expressed her concern that Electric Vehicle week materials would be promoting the purchase of new cars and discussed her wish to reduce per capita car ownership. She suggested that information be provided to consumers about the carbon footprint of automobile production and about the environmental costs and benefits of purchasing new cars. Mr. Stern offered to research life cycle analyses of cars by manufacturers.  Director Nutter reported on the opportunity for the Department to plan events with other agencies around all transit options, not just EV.  Commissioner Wald suggested adding information to the Department’s website on things to think about when making purchases.

Public Comment: Mr. Eric Brooks stated that money that is being spent to influence people to purchase and produce electric vehicles could otherwise be applied to efforts such as building a renewable energy system and improving mass transit. 


10.  Announcements. (Discussion)  Commissioner Arce offered his assistance in contacting Local 261 labor union that may be a pro bono contributor and able to assist in helping to reach LEED goals for the Department’s new office space as they have both an energy auditor apprenticeship and classification within their union in addition to a suite of energy efficiency work.

11.  New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Discussion)  Commissioner Wald reported that she would not be in attendance for the October Policy Committee meeting.  Item 7 was continued to the October meeting.  Director Nutter reported that there are City agencies who are interested in presenting their perspectives on bottled water, and that this item could potentially be ready for a discussion at the October meeting.  Commissioner Wald requested information from the Port on the outcome of the bottled water policy for the America’s Cup events that were held in August and September.

Commissioner Arce suggested holding a future Committee or joint Commission and PUC neighborhood meeting around a policy initiative that could potentially impact a neighborhood.  Commissioner Gravanis suggested adding Communications to future Committee agendas that would also include responses to constituents. She discussed public comment received from Mr. David Gavrich discussing the CO2 impacts of City purchases and contracts for transport and suggested that staff respond to his inquiry.  Commission Secretary Monica Fish reported that more than 495 emails had been received to date from Sierra Club members in support of CleanPowerSF. 

Mr. Adam Stern reported that there is a larger discussion about consumption based carbon accounting and policy initiatives that can be devised around the embedded carbon in our activities.  He stated that he is collaborating with academic institutions who are looking at San Francisco’s footprint from a consumption based model, and that it opens up policy actions that San Francisco can take the lead on.  Director Nutter suggested that this discussion be held in 2013 once more information is available.


  • 12.  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.


  • 13.  Adjournment.  The Policy Committee meeting adjourned at 7:20 p.m.

The next regular meeting of the Commission on the Environment Policy Committee meeting is scheduled for Monday, October 22, 2012 and will be held in Room 421, City Hall.


Respectfully submitted by

Monica Fish, Commission Secretary

Telephone (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 Policy Committee’s website http://www.sfenvironment.org/commission/agendas with each set of minutes, or (3) upon request to the Commission Secretary at telephone number 415-355-3709, or via e-mail at [email protected].   

Approved: October 25, 2012