December 10 2012 Policy Committee Meeting Approved Minutes


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

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

Public comment will be taken before the Committee takes action on any item.

1. Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Commission Policy Committee meeting convened at 5:00 p.m. Present:  Commissioners Wald, Gravanis and Arce.

2. Approval of Minutes of the October 25 and November 5, 2012 Commission on the Environment Policy Committee Rescheduled Meetings. (Explanatory Documents: October 25 and November 5, 2012 Draft and Approved Minutes) (Discussion and Action)

Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Arce, the October 25 and November 5, 2012 Commission Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES:  Commissioners Wald, Gravanis and Arce)

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. Discussion of Draft Climate Action Strategy Update. (Explanatory Documents:  Draft Climate Action Strategy Update Executive Summary and Climate Presentation) Sponsor:  Melanie Nutter, Director; Speakers:  Adam Stern, Climate Action Program Manager and Calla Ostrander, Climate Action Coordinator (Informational Report and Discussion)

Mr. Adam Stern reported on the Draft Climate Action Strategy Update that the Department of the Environment (“Department”) has been working on for the past year.  He discussed the likely impacts of climate change that have recently been observed in events such as flooding in the Embarcadero (presentation slide 2) and Hurricane Sandy, which scientists predict will be increasingly common as sea level rises. 

Understanding about the seriousness of climate change and its implications has changed as a result of these events.  Mr. Stern reported that the result of the United Nations climate change talks was modest. Negotiations are to be completed in 2015 for a treaty that wouldn’t take effect until 2020. At the local level, cities have discretion over the things that cause greenhouse gas emissions, , e.g., energy, transportation, and waste.  San Francisco’s City government is integrating climate action planning into the operations of each agency. At the Earth Summit, C40 announced that a billion metric tons of carbon could be reduced by 2030 from all of the policies put in place by cities. Topics of discussion included:

  2010 SF CO2e Emissions by Sector (Slide 3).   An emissions inventory was developed by the Department’s Climate Team that details carbon footprint by sector.  Sectors include transportation 43%, buildings 53% and waste 4%.
  SF Citywide CO2 Emissions Are on Track to Beat Upcoming International and State Targets and San Francisco’s Economy Grows as Emissions Decline (slides 4 and 5).   San Francisco’s emissions in 2010 are approximately 14.5% below 1990 levels even when city population increased by 11 percent over the 20 year period.  Projections show that San Francisco can continue reducing its emissions and sustain a strong economy. Strategies in each emission category have been identified to help reach targets (slides 9-10).
  Total SF CO2 Emissions Decline with Cleaner Electricity and More Waste Recycling. (Slide 6)
  SF's Climate Actions Projected to Beat Local Targets thru 2025 (Slide 7) through waste, transportation, and building electricity measures.
  SF Projected GHG Reductions by 2030 (Slide 8) Total: 2 million metric tons CO2e through 100% renewable electricity, energy efficiency, transportation measures, electric vehicles, zero waste and urban forest (slide 8).
  SF Emission Reduction Strategies (slides 9-10) for energy use in buildings, transportation, materials goods and zero waste, urban forest, and municipal operations.

Ms. Calla Ostrander reported on San Francisco’s climate actions projected to beat local targets set through 2025 by achieving ambitious goals that were set with policies in transportation, building electricity and waste (slide 7).  She reported that building natural gas has not been factored into the projection because San Francisco does not yet have goals or policies in this area.  The city is on track to meet projections set forth by 2025 through existing goals and policies, but more work needs to be done in transportation and natural gas to meet 2050 goals.  Reductions are coming from policies that affect the city’s carbon footprint through the100% renewable electricity goal, energy efficiency measures, transportation measures, electric vehicles, zero waste, and urban forest (slide 8). Ms. Ostrander reported on San Francisco’s emission reduction strategies for energy use in buildings; transportation; materials, goods, and zero waste; urban forest; and municipal operations (slides 9-10). 

Director Nutter reported that the Climate Action Plan was originally created in 2004.  The update to the Plan is on what the footprint currently is and the strategies and actions that have been taken since 2004 to achieve greenhouse gas emission reduction goals. There will be new strategies that will be vetted that will be part of a new extensive plan that will be worked on in the next few years.  Mr. Stern reported that the Draft of the Executive Summary has been provided, and that work is in progress on the Climate Action Plan Update. Commissioners were asked to engage in the process and provide their thoughts and feedback on plan strategies, goals, and objectives. 

Commissioner Gravanis spoke in support of (1) the strategy to reduce consumption as another way to reduce greenhouse gas emission reduction goals and suggested an educational approach to smart purchasing; and (2) including existing habitats but not as a sub-category of urban forest.   Ms. Ostrander stated that the category is actually urban nature, and that the Department has a new biodiversity consultant that will help to expand the section. She explained that carbon reduction quantification is only from the urban forest because there is no current methodology for small wetlands.  Commissioner Gravanis stated that reaching goals is reliant on 100% renewable electricity that would be linked to the success of the CleanPowerSF program and asked for additional information on program status.
Mr. Jason Fried, LAFCo staff, reported that CleanPowerSF will start off as a 20 to 30 mw program and will not cover the entire city right away. The goal is to acquire a funding stream to make the program larger in the future and fund building new renewables and getting away from a contract with an outside provider.  Phase 2 which is not currently the focus is when the rest of the city will roll into the program. The launch date for the first phase is October 2013, but there are factors that could present a delay.  Ms. Ostrander reported that Climate Action Strategy targets are stretch goals that are reliant on everyone purchasing 100% renewable power over time.

Commissioner Wald discussed the importance of communicating to San Francisco residents the difference they would be making in reaching climate goals by signing up for the CleanPowerSF program.  Commissioner Wald suggested holding a conference or event in which experts in the field will discuss these goals and actions, and validate the work and metrics in order to publicize the efforts that San Francisco is making as valuable and precedent setting.  Ms. Ostrander discussed the Green Economic Forum community engagement process that was held 1 ½ to 2 years ago to work on internal methodologies.  Director Nutter reported on the planning meeting that will be held next week for the new Green Economic Forum.  Mr. Stern stated that experts could review assumptions and provide insight into more opportunities.

Commissioner Wald stated that the Department has more control over the energy efficiency program than other programs listed and inquired if creating legislation would be the way to implement strategies.  Ms. Ostrander reported that the first part of the law, the existing building benchmarking ordinance is in effect, but the second phase on mandatory retrofits has not been adopted.  She reported on the need to also update the Residential Energy Conservation Ordinance standards through legislation.  The numbers are solely from existing programs, and suggested preparing a plan of action on other measures that lies with other departments. Commissioner Wald inquired if there is a standardized set of criteria across cities on how to measure emissions and contributions.  Ms. Ostrander reported on the two standard community wide protocols that she had championed.

Commissioner Arce suggested that the Climate Plan quantify jobs that were created by environmental policies and programs such as Zero Waste and Energy Watch.  Ms. Ostrander suggested showing examples of how policies have helped job creation instead of a job creation analysis of all programs. 

Commissioner Gravanis inquired whether there are financing mechanisms to help fund strategies cited in the report.  She asked if there has been further discussion on identifying methods to broaden the use of the carbon fund for other programs through an Executive Order or amendments to legislation.  Director Nutter reported that there would be a discussion at the next Policy Committee on financing for renewable energy and efficiency programs and the carbon fund.

Public Comment:

Mr. Eric Brooks, San Francisco Green Party and Our City, suggested quantifying not only the jobs created by environmental programs and policies, but ones that will be created by measures that are proposed.  This information should be brought to the attention of the Mayor’s Office, Board of Supervisors, City agencies, and trade unions.  He stated that other cities are not involved in developing a climate plan, and it is impressive that the Department of the Environment is doing such a comprehensive study.  Mr. Brooks stated that he does not support the use of biofuels because he believes they increase, not decrease greenhouse gas emissions with the exception of french-fry grease which could replace only 1% of citywide fossil diesel use. He reported that for CleanPowerSF, Local Power is putting forward a model that will, over the next five years, offer all electricity customers a 100% clean energy mix at the same price as PG&E, while also installing hundreds of megawatts of renewables and efficiency locally.  He suggested including this information in all future discussions.

Mr. David Pilpel suggested projecting savings from a particular strategy versus the cost or effort to pursue that strategy.  He commented that he thinks of the strategies listed on page 4 of the plan as municipal, residential and commercial, and that each sector has a potential contribution.  He discussed the increased contribution that some departments may have on climate actions as opposed to other departments that may not have a significant contribution and should not be burdened with activities they cannot achieve.  Climate planning should be more individualized as to what actions that particular department can take to achieve results. He suggested that departments such as Real Estate and the City Administrator employ someone who is focused on building practices and the environment. 

Commissioner Wald discussed the benefits of developing a Best Practices Manual for municipal operations for activities that all departments may have to take but not part of their everyday operations.  Ms. Ostrander reported that the Community Wide Action Plan identifies agencies responsible for implementing specific policies.  There is a best practices reporting template that each City department abides by to report on compliance with all City ordinances.  

Mr. Adam Stern acknowledged Ms. Sachiko Tanikawa on her work on the Departmental Climate Action Plans.

Ms. Anne Eng, Environmental Justice Program Manager, reported on her work on Department biodiesel projects citing the significant health benefits associated with the use of biodiesel.  She stated that there are debates about greenhouse gas emission reductions or decreases from the use of biodiesel, but that in terms of particulate matter, use of biodiesel in MUNI fleets contributes to the health of the city and reduces the use of conventional diesel. She suggested adopting a strategy as to the health benefits of biodiesel.  Ms. Ostrander reported on a report that the Department and Environmental Protection Agency has written on this topic.  Mr. Eric Brooks stated that he disagrees that there are CO2 and health benefits associated with the use of biodiesel as opposed to regular diesel. 

5. Update on Proposed Outreach Plan for CleanPowerSF. Sponsor: Commissioner Joshua Arce; Speaker:  Donald Oliveira, Public Outreach Program Manager (Informational Report and Discussion)

Mr. Donald Oliveira reported that the Department has been holding preliminary discussions with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) Communications team on a general framework for a communication plan for outreach on CleanPowerSF.  He stated that on November 30th, the SFPUC held a joint meeting with the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) to present timelines and key elements of the Customer Education and Outreach plan to City residents for the CleanPowerSF program that is expected to launch in October 2013.  EnvironmentNow staff has been written into the budget the SFPUC presented to LAFCo and is fully expected to be involved.  A map created by a marketing research firm was presented that shows areas in the city that are strong candidates for adopting CleanPowerSF.  The Department’s plan, prior to the official launch of the program, is to do the initial pre-notification outreach to homes in the targeted area to confirm that there is a market for customers, starting in approximately April.  Subsequently, once the Master Agreement is signed with Shell Energy, the SFPUC communications plan would start, and there will be discussions with the Department on participating in the multilingual phase that is part of Phase 2 of the program.  Further discussion will be held on how to frame communication strategies and including other Department programs in messaging. 

Commissioner Arce inquired whether the Department would be required to hire outside consultants to participate in outreach.  Mr. Oliveira stated that approval of the Customer Education and Outreach Plan will be voted on by the SFPUC on December 11, so any plans at this time are to be determined based on approval of the plan.  There are plans to include both experienced multilingual canvassers and EnvironmentNow staff.  Commissioner Arce inquired about plans to engage with local residents, communities of color, and people residing in public housing through joint efforts of Community Based Organizations (CBO’s).  Mr. Oliveira reported that the SFPUC is working with the Board of Supervisors on their recommendations for involvement of CBO’s. Plans are for the first phase of outreach to be performed by EnvironmentNow staff and to divide outreach responsibilities for the second phase to the multilingual and the underserved population with CBO’s.  Mr. Jason Fried, LAFCo staff, reported that CBO’s will fall under the same Master Contract that the Department falls under. 

Commissioner Gravanis inquired whether SFPUC is hiring an outside consultant to manage the process.  Mr. Oliveira reported that Davis and Associates would be managing the process, but that the Department may be taking the lead on their part of outreach.  Commissioner Wald inquired about the cap for CleanPowerSF.  Mr. Jason Fried reported that there can’t be more than 30MW of total power for all customers.  Commissioner Wald suggested taking advantage of the opportunity to show other departments and the City what the Department can do through this process.  Mr. Oliveira stated that part of the communications plan is to also target green business participants. 

Public Comment:

Mr. Frank Mason inquired how medical discounts and the CARE program for the low-income population would be incorporated into the CleanPowerSF program and communicated to potential users.  Mr. Jason Fried reported that the CARE program will be continued and will be applied in the PG&E portion of the bill. The City is looking at providing CARE customers the same 20% percent discount on the CleanPowerSF premium.  There is also discussion on providing CARE customers the ability to participate in the program but not necessarily start in Phase 1.  Director Nutter reported that the Department would focus its resources on those customers to help with energy-efficiency measures to reduce their bill overall.  Mr. Fried stated that the SFPUC has been directed to prioritize CARE customers on energy-efficiency work so there won’t be an impact on their overall bill if they choose to participate in the program.    

Mr. Eric Brooks reported that community advocates will raise questions on the appropriation for the outreach program at the December 11 SFPUC meeting because SFPUC Power Enterprise staff is basing their outreach program on the plan that will focus only on the 20 to 30 MW of energy purchased from Shell and not Local Power’s local build-out that was approved in November 2011.  He suggested that the Commission schedule a presentation by Local Power at its January meeting as he believes it will affect the success of the CleanPowerSF program when PGE plans to implement its own 100% green power program.

Mr. Jason Fried, LAFCo staff, expressed his concerns about the100% renewable energy scenarios contained in Local Power’s report that he believes may be a risk for the City and for delaying the start of CleanPowerSF.  He encouraged the Commission to take a positive stance on the CleanPowerSF program to move it forward in order to meet the City’s ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.  Commissioner Arce inquired if a discussion has been held on how to incorporate activities that may evolve during the course of the program such as the work of Local Power on a local build-out.   Mr. Oliveira confirmed that there would be, but that the first phase of communication would be to engage people and provide information on the program and gage interest. 

Commissioner Arce inquired whether the Education and Outreach Plan includes a discussion of rates. Mr. Oliveira reported that discussion would be held when the not to exceed rate is set.  Director Nutter reported that the key question of financing will be discussed at the January 14 Commission Policy Committee meeting at which time Commissioners can take part in identifying funding and implementation strategies.  She stated that it is desirable to include a local build-out in order to have local jobs and supply, but that it is important to hold a discussion on the source of funding in order to move forward with a program that can meet the City’s greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.  Commissioner Arce suggested inviting Local Power advocates to the meeting and framing the outcome for future Commission input.  Director Nutter suggested that either staff present a report with an opportunity for public comment or scheduling a separate agenda item that is related or part of the larger discussion on financing.   Commissioner Wald suggested holding a joint Department and SFPUC meeting on this topic. 

Mr. Jason Fried reported that the SFPUC would be holding a discussion at its January 22 meeting on the not to exceed rates, and that a vote would be taken at the February meeting. There would then be a one month period for the Board of Supervisors to review the rates if they choose.  Outreach would then start in April.   Director Nutter reported that staff level discussions about outreach and implementation are ongoing. 

Commissioner Gravanis stated that it did not appear that the timing for the process would be workable for the Commission to recommend an action.  Mr. Oliveira reported that additional information could be made available to the Commission at its March meeting.   Commissioner Wald suggested a discussion of lessons learned after the first phase of the program and then holding a joint meeting with the SFPUC to discuss results and thoughts about the next phase based on what was learned. 

Mr. Eric Brooks suggested that the Commission review the Local Power report so as to better inform staff of outreach activities.  He suggested that the debate on the Local Power build-out outreach occur at the full Commission meeting in January so as to inform staff work.  Mr. Jason Fried reported that the Rate Fairness Board should be issuing their recommendation to the SFPUC Commission by January 8th, but that the SFPUC won’t be meeting until January 22 at 1:30, which is before the full Commission meeting at 5:00 p.m. The item will be informational at that point, and a decision will not be made until the SFPUC’s meeting in February.

Director Nutter reported that the Mayor has asked the Department to work with the SFPUC on the current outreach and education program, and that there is an opportunity for the Commission to engage in this topic as implementation moves forward.  Commissioner Arce requested a CleanPowerSF update to the full Commission as an actual agenda item on January 22 with participation by SFPUC staff and Mr. Jason Fried of LAFCo staff.  Commissioner Wald suggested incorporating a discussion on how CleanPowerSF relates to the City’s climate goals and outreach on goals.  Mr. Brooks suggested inviting Local Power to the Policy Committee meeting discussion on January 14 and the full Commission on January 22.

6. Review and Approval for Recommendation to the Commission of the Environment of the 2012 Department of the Environment and Commission on the Environment’s Annual Report Section. (Explanatory Documents:  Department 2012 Annual Report Draft; Commission and Committee List of 2012 Agenda Topics and Accomplishments; and Draft Commission Section of the Annual Report) Sponsor:  Melanie Nutter, Director and Commissioner Johanna Wald (Discussion and Action)

Mr. Donald Oliveira presented the Committee with the Department’s Annual Report section for review.  Commissioners reviewed the Commission and Department’s Annual Report sections and provided comments and suggestions.  

Public Comment:  Mr. David Pilpel suggested not including Department awards in the Commission section because he believes it should be in the Department’s section as the awards were not issued directly to the Commission.  He stated that the Commission should focus on what it does for setting policy and providing oversight to the Department.  Mr. Pilpel also suggested including a section either now or in next year’s report on priorities for 2013.

Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Arce, the Commission’s Annual Report section was approved with edits and for incorporation into the Department’s Annual Report for recommendation to the Commission for review and approval on January 22, 2012. Commissioner Gravanis left during this agenda item before the vote. (AYES:  Commissioners Wald and Arce).

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

Director Nutter provided a written report and reported on (1) the Green Labeling Press event held with the Assessor-Recorder’s office on November 29 to announce an Assessor’s Office database to track green labels for property that will raise awareness of building energy efficiency; (2) a press event scheduled on December 11 to recognize the healthy nail salons that are part of the Healthy Nail Salon program; and (3) Department holiday party scheduled for Thursday, December 13.

8. Communications.  (Information and Discussion)  This agenda item was not heard at this time.

9. Announcements. (Discussion)  This agenda item was not heard at this time.

10. New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Discussion)  Commissioner Wald announced that a discussion will be held at the next Policy Committee meeting on financing for renewable energy, energy efficiency and the carbon fund.   Director Nutter suggested an updated report on Eco Districts 3 option by Mr. Cal Broomhead, Department Energy Manager, and the Planning Department.  She suggested inviting the Department of Public Health (DPH) representative to present on DPH’s sustainability priorities.

11. 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. 

Mr. David Pilpel discussed the ruling to disapprove the legislation on the yellow pages ban and suggested that the Policy Committee prepare a letter to the Local Search Association influencing them to provide directories only to people who request them.  Commissioner Wald suggested that the Commission issue a Resolution at its January meeting, but Mr. Pilpel stated it would be more timely to start with a letter.  Director Nutter reported that next steps would be discussed at the staff level in conjunction with Supervisor Chiu’s office, the sponsor of the legislation.  Mr. Pilpel suggested that (1) staff present the Committee with a report on the termination of the landfill agreement and legal obligations going forward and (2) Recology’s submittal of their rate-setting application and how it aligns with staff recommendations.  Director Nutter stated that she had reported on the landfill agreement at the January Commission meeting. 

Mr. Eric Brooks expressed his concerns and asked the Commission to address (1) sea level rise impacts and the inclination of City departments to move development projects forward; and (2) that the radiation effects at Treasure Island are not being properly addressed.  Director Nutter reported that a Director level meeting is being held on adaptation next week to discuss this topic and hold a broader stakeholder process once a strategy has been identified.  She stated that a staff report on the rate process would be brought to the Commission or Policy Committee at the appropriate time next year.  Commissioner Wald suggested scheduling an update on Treasure Island at a future meeting. Mr. Pilpel suggested that the Department of Public Health present on Treasure Island and their role in environmental health as it pertains to the radiation concerns at Treasure Island.

12. Adjournment.  The Commission Policy Committee meeting adjourned at 7:20 p.m.

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 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:  January 14, 2013