April 8 2013 Policy Committee Meeting Approved Minutes


MONDAY, APRIL 8, 2013, 5:00 P.M.

COMMITTEE MEMBERS:  Commissioners Johanna Wald (Chair), Ruth Gravanis (Vice-Chair), Nicholas Josefowitz
Public comment will be taken before the Committee takes action on any item.

1. Call to Order and Roll Call. The Commission on the Environment meeting convened at 5:05 p.m.  Present:  Commissioners Gravanis and Josefowitz; Excused:  Commissioner Wald.

2. Approval of Minutes of the March 11, 2013 Commission on the Environment Policy Committee Meeting. (Explanatory Document: March 11, 2013 Draft Minutes) (Discussion and Action)  Upon Motion by Commissioner Josefowitz, second by Commissioner Gravanis, the March 11, 2013 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES:  Commissioners Gravanis and Josefowitz; Absent:  Commissioner Wald).

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. Review of Approval of Letter of Commission Support for Assembly Bill (AB) 521 (Hueso and Stone) Marine Plastic Pollution Producer Responsibility for recommendation to the Commission on the Environment. (Explanatory Documents:  AB521, AB521 Fact Sheet, and Commission Draft Letter of Support) Sponsor:  Commissioner Ruth Gravanis; Speaker: Leila Monroe, Staff Attorney, Oceans Program, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) (Discussion and Action) 

Ms. Leila Monroe stated that plastic waste in oceans can only be curbed by incorporating waste management and source reduction techniques that San Francisco is a global pioneer of.   She reported on her time spent researching programs implemented in the European Union and Canada that were successful in reducing landfill and increasing recycling.   Ms. Monroe reported that California AB521 focuses on reducing plastics in the marine environment, which account for 60 to 90 percent of waste.   It proposes that the California Ocean Protection Council identify the top plastic items found in waterways, and that producers of these products be required to develop marine plastic pollution reduction plans so that there be a 75% reduction in plastics found in the marine environment by 2020 and 95% by 2024.  Producers would be required to provide support for marine pollution plastic intervention activities along the product life cycle by implementing design changes and increased recycling.   The bill is designed to be an overlay of existing single item bans and will not preempt or undermine those bills.  (Reference AB521 Fact Sheet)

Commissioner Gravanis reported on the Commission’s ongoing discussions on aspects of producer responsibility and ways to protect the marine environment from waste.  She suggested that standards for incorporating definitions of biodegradable and compostable be added to the definitions section of the bill.  Ms. Monroe reported that setting guidelines and parameters for how plans are required to be written has been delegated to CalRecycle, California Ocean Protection Council, and the State Water Boards and hopes amendments can be made in the next version of the bill.  Commissioner Gravanis suggested adding to the Commission’s letter of support the importance of protecting the San Francisco Bay as well as the state’s other valuable coastal and ocean resources.  She also suggested that wording be added to ensure that the bill retains its strength through the legislative process, and that the Commission’s support is contingent on the support of NRDC, the City lobbyist, and the Department of the Environment.

Mr. Jack Macy, Department of the Environment Zero Waste Program, reported on the Department’s and City lobbyist’s support of this Extended Producer Responsibility bill.  He suggested that the bill contain explicit language that it would not preempt local jurisdictions that deal with these materials.   Mr. Macy reported that the City will be on record supporting the bill, and if it changes, the City can always withdraw support, or suggest that the bill go even further. 

This agenda item was continued to the May 13, 2013 Policy Committee in order to consider a Resolution of support to recommend to the Commission for review and approval at its May 28, 2013 meeting.
5. Presentation on Climate Action Strategy Update.  Sponsor:  Melanie Nutter, Director, Speakers:  Adam Stern, Climate Action Program Manager, Calla Ostrander, Climate Action Coordinator and Donald Oliveira, Public Outreach Program Manager (Discussion)

Mr. Adam Stern provided an overview of the San Francisco Climate Action Strategy reporting that since 1990, San Francisco’s greenhouse gas emissions has been reduced by 14.6 percent while the population has increased by 11 percent, and economic growth, which is measured by gross domestic product has increased by over 40 percent.  He stated that the City is on track to reach ambitious targets to reduce emissions 25% below 1990 levels by 2017 and 40% by 2025 if key policies are implemented.  San Francisco and other cities like ours are setting an exemplary model showing that emissions can be reduced while defending local sustainability goals and creating a bright picture of what a modern sustainable city looks like.  Mr. Stern reported on the Report outline and structure (Reference Presentation).

Ms. Calla Ostrander reported that the 2004 Climate Action Strategy was one of the first statements of commitment to take climate action in the United States and laid out 160 actions that the City could take to reduce emissions.  The Climate Action Strategy update is more specific in that it lists 34 policies that will be tracked that will show progress in meeting goals and whether targets can be met.  The goals have already been established by the City and are linked to existing policies.  She reported on four of the most important strategies to meet goals in the areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency, transportation, and zero waste.  Projections for a future emissions path to meet targets to 2050 in the areas of building electricity, transportation, building natural gas and waste was discussed (Reference Presentation).   

Commissioner Josefowitz inquired and Ms. Ostrander reported on examples of policies that will be tracked through individual plans and the climate process as the inventory is updated and methodologies for tracking success.   Director Nutter reported that a metrics project for each policy and program that the Department runs is being looked into.  Ms. Ostrander reported on current community-wide data collection methods and City department data received on their climate action plans.   Mr. Stern reported on the work that has been done analyzing and examining data to make sure that the source is understood.  Commissioner Josefowitz inquired about the transparency of data, and Ms. Ostrander reported that collection data would be included in the report.  Director Nutter reported on discussions held about establishing a pilot project to display data that City agencies receive by building, street, block, and neighborhood levels that can be manipulated in different ways.  

Mr. Oliveira reported on the vision for how the Climate Action Strategy would be rolled out to several audiences such as policy makers, department heads, businesses, and the public.  He stated that the plan is a beginning for a long dialogue with the community.  The Commission was asked for their support in helping promote the plan through support of the 100% renewable energy goal, communicating the Climate Action Strategy to the community, and mobilizing support with key partners.  Commissioner Gravanis asked that Commissioners be kept informed on upcoming community meetings that Department staff will be attending.  Director Nutter suggested that Commissioners be provided with talking points to share with the community.  Mr. Oliveira stated that an Executive Summary will be created.  Ms. Ostrander reported that there are specific actions that the community can be made aware of and engage in.  Director Nutter and Commissioners thanked staff for their work on the report. 

Public Comment:  Ms. Lurilla Harris inquired as to the publication date of the report.  Ms. Ostrander reported that the report would be published and made public on April 24, at the Earth Day Breakfast.  Ms. Harris inquired about what actions would be taken to address local wildlife that would be affected by changes made.  Mr. Stern reported that there is a chapter in the report that describes the impact of climate change on the natural environment and does make reference to wildlife.  He stated that climate change will have an effect on wildlife and plant life, and that there is a program in the planning stages on biodiversity.  Ms. Harris stated that bees are important to our vegetation and asked if there is anything specific to address bees in the report.  Ms. Ostrander reported that the report does not contain anything specific to bees at this time. 

6. Update on the New Structure for the San Francisco Carbon Fund and Policy Committee Recommendations for Projects.  (Explanatory Documents:  Grant Proposal, Project Checklist, and Project Scoresheet) Sponsor: Melanie Nutter, Director, Speakers: Adam Stern, Climate Action Program Manager, Calla Ostrander, Climate Action Coordinator and Donald Oliveira, Public Outreach Program Manager (Discussion and Possible Action)

Ms. Calla Ostrander reported that the original carbon fund that was launched in 2007 was a program to create local carbon offsets which had not been cost-effective to develop locally due to scale.  The legislation directed the Department of the Environment to mitigate carbon locally.  After listening to Policy Committee comments the program was retailored to invest in projects at the local scale that would have carbon impacts and other ancillary positive eco system externalities such as storm-water retention, air filtration, and community development.  The carbon fund will be re-launched with two project types, urban forest and urban greening projects.  Future plans are to expand the project types to include solar heating and waste biofuels.  Project types were selected based on input received from a six-month community group panel process on climate strategy.  (Reference explanatory documents)

Ms. Ostrander reported on partnerships and funds allocated to the current set of projects and plans to secure funding for future projects.  The Request for Proposals (RFP) is scheduled for publication and distribution on Earth Day, April 24, and applicants will be required to participate in an assessment process by a review panel.   Director Nutter suggested the possibility of including a broader range of neighborhood-type projects.  Commissioner Gravanis suggested including criteria in the scoresheet that would ask if the project would help meet long-term adaptation goals.  She also suggested that future projects of this type coordinate more with climate-smart conservation groups and focus on both mitigation and adaptation strategies.  Mr. Stern suggested adding these groups to the RFP distribution list.

Commissioner Josefowitz discussed the idea of creating a citywide application standard for similar types of projects in order to decrease the administrative burden.  He inquired about the projected carbon reduction that would result from selected projects.  Ms. Ostrander reported that due to the scale of the projects, carbon reduction would be under 1000 tons a year or over the lifetime of the projects.  Director Nutter suggested adding the economic impact of the project into the project criteria or application.  Ms. Ostrander stated that economic impacts would be hard to quantify because funding would be directed specifically to material and not labor.  The labor would be accomplished by community partners or volunteer groups.  Director Nutter suggested that the Commission participate in a future visioning exercise after the first year of the project.

Commissioner Josefowitz inquired about project reporting requirements. Ms. Ostrander reported that three years of project monitoring is built into the requirements.  Commissioner Josefowitz inquired about administrative costs to run the program.  Ms. Ostrander reported that it would require one full time entry level staff person and a 10-20% administrative fee for climate staff.  The program could have the potential of funding more staff if it is expanded. Commissioner Josefowitz suggested that one of the projects be implemented in a popular tourist location in order to benefit the city economically.  Ms. Ostrander discussed calling out community benefits of the projects by including the potential of job creation and creating projects in environmental justice communities.  Director Nutter suggested thinking about how to relate and promote projects through Eco District projects.

Ms. Laura Sasso, Department of the Environment Climate staff, discussed interconnected social, environment, and economic benefits from runoff management projects.   She stated that the application process will include integration of City policies in place so that applicants can reference those in the application process.   Ms. Ostrander stated that there will be an effort to calculate stormwater and air pollutant benefits from projects, but that it would be dependent on available data.  Commissioner Gravanis suggested working with San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) on the benefits of stormwater management projects.

Public Comment:  

Ms. Lurilla Harris provided editorial comments on the Draft Request for Proposal. 

Ms. Kelsey Bennett inquired if any of the projects reduce particulate matter.  Ms. Ostrander reported that trees do reduce particulate matter from localized air pollutants from diesel that can be measured.  Ms. Bennett suggested calling it a health benefit instead of a social benefit.  

7. Quarterly Review of Commission on the Environment and its Committees Accomplishments for 2013. (Explanatory Document:  List of 2013 Commission and Committee Agenda Topics Selections for 2013 Annual Report) (Discussion)

Commission Secretary Fish reported that the Policy Committee holds a quarterly review to select accomplishments to recommend to the Commission to include in its Annual Report.  The Commission reviews and approves the Annual Report for inclusion into the Department’s Annual Report in January of each year.  Commissioners reviewed and selected quarterly accomplishments to include in the report.   (Reference List of 2013 Commission and Committee Agenda Topics Selections for 2013 Annual Report)

Agenda Item 13 was heard before Item 8.

8. Policy Committee Review of Commission on the Environment Standing Rules and Format for recommendation to the Commission. (Explanatory Document:  Standing Rules 040813) Sponsor:  Commissioner Ruth Gravanis; Speakers:  Monica Fish, Commission Secretary and Commissioner Ruth Gravanis (Discussion and Action)

Commission Secretary Fish provided a Draft of the Standing Rules for Commissioners to consider.  Commissioner Gravanis reported that Standing Rules were created for the purpose of adding Commission specific policies and provides the ability to revise rules as required.  Upon Motion by Commissioner Josefowitz, second by Commissioner Gravanis, Standing Rules were approved for recommendation to the Commission with the following additions:

• Emergencies by which Policy Committee acts on behalf of the full Commission.  In case of an emergency when a decision is clearly in the purview of the Commission and there isn’t time to bring the matter to the full Commission to be effective, the Policy Committee will have the ability to act on behalf of the Commission.  The action taken will be reported at the next Commission meeting.

• Public Comment:  Public Comment is available at the beginning and near the close of the Commission meeting on matters that are not related to an agenda item.  Public comment is also available under each agenda item for Commissioners to consider as decisions are being made.  There will be an opportunity for Commissioner-discussion before and after public comment before a decision is made.
9. Director’s Report and Updates.  (Explanatory Document:  Director’s Report) Speaker: Melanie Nutter, Director (Informational Report and Discussion)

Director Nutter highlighted Department outreach and press events in the areas of resilience, adaptation, zero waste, and smart cities.  She reported on discussions held with international experts on zero waste at International Zero Waste week following the premiere of the movie “Trashed” and that Earth Day Breakfast is scheduled for Wednesday, April 24th.   Director Nutter reported that Supervisor David Chiu is planning to introduce legislation that would restrict the sale of bottled water at events on City property, and that the legislation is interconnected with Commissioner and staff work on this issue.  Department staff would be working with Supervisor Chiu providing input.  She suggested that the Commission engage on the development of the legislation and schedule a meeting.  Commissioner Josefowitz suggested that Commissioners be kept informed of upcoming events in order to assist in outreach efforts and increase the Department’s exposure.  Director Nutter suggested contacting Public Outreach Program Manager Donald Oliveira for input into events, and that Commissioners have a presence at the Community Clean Team event with Department of Public Works, the Mayor, and Supervisor London Breed on April 20 and the Mayor’s Earth Day Breakfast on April 24th.     

10. Communications.  (Explanatory Document:  Correspondence Log) (Information and Discussion) 

Commission Secretary Fish provided a correspondence log of incoming Commission correspondence and provided a status report of correspondence and public comment received at the Commission March meeting.  Director Nutter would review pending correspondence and public comment at the March 26 meeting on development and toxicity issues in the Hunters Point Neighborhood.  

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

12. New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Discussion)  Director Nutter announced that Commission President Arce has requested that the Policy Committee review the CleanPowerSF proposal based on discussions held at the last Commission meeting.  Commissioner Josefowitz requested an agenda item discussion on Renewable Energy Task Force recommendations list of pass-throughs.  Commissioner Gravanis suggested that a SFPUC representative and LAFCo staff attend the meeting to provide input into the CleanPowerSF program.  Director Nutter suggested that a staff report also be provided.  Support for AB521 was continued to the May 13 meeting. 

13. 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. 

Public Comment:  Ms. Harris inquired if copies of the movie “Trashed” could be provided to the Library so schools are able to access the movie.

14. Adjournment.  The Commission Policy Committee meeting adjourned at 7:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by Monica Fish, Commission Secretary
Telephone (415) 355-3709; Fax (415) 554-6393

The next meeting of the Commission on the Environment Policy Committee meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 13, 2013 at 5:00 p.m., in City Hall, Room 421.

** Copies of explanatory documents are available at (1) the Commission’s office, 1455 Market Street, Suite 1200, San Francisco, California 94103 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., (2) may be available 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]  The meeting audio can be reviewed at this website link by meeting date http://www.sfenvironment.org/commission/audio.

Approved: May 13, 2013