March 10 2014 Policy Committee Meeting Approved Minutes


MONDAY, MARCH 10, 2014, 5:00 P.M.


COMMITTEE MEMBERS:  Commissioners Johanna Wald (Chair), Ruth Gravanis, and Nicholas Josefowitz


1. Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Policy Committee meeting convened at 5:07 p.m.  Present:  Commissioners Wald and Gravanis; Excused:  Commissioner Josefowitz.

2. Approval of Minutes of the February 10, 2014 Commission on the Environment Policy Committee Meeting. (Explanatory Document:  February 10, 2014 Approved Minutes) (Discussion and Action)  Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Wald, the February 10, 2014 Policy Committee Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES:  Commissioners Wald and Gravanis; Absent:  Commissioner Josefowitz).

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. Informational Report on the Textile Reuse and Recycling Initiative.  (Explanatory Documents:  Link to Campaign Information and Textile Campaign Presentation) Speaker:  Alexa Kielty, Residential Zero Waste and Special Projects Assistant (Informational Report and Discussion)

Residential Zero Waste and Special Projects Assistant Alexa Kielty reported that the goal of the Zero Waste Textile Reuse and Recycling Initiative campaign that was launched through a press event in January 2014 is to increase the awareness of the amount of textiles that are sent to landfill and to increase the number of textile drop-off locations so material can be captured instead of sent to landfill.  The Department of the Environment partnered with I:CO who partnered with clothing retail establishments to set up clothing collection containers in retail stores.  Program participation included volunteers and EnvironmentNow staff who built towers made of unwanted clothing in San Francisco’s Westfield Mall.  Ms. Kielty reported on the number and locations of drop off sites in San Francisco, how to find the closest location near you through, plans to increase drop-off locations, and participating retailers.  

Ms. Kielty reported that San Francisco’s Zero Waste goals would require diversion of over 400,000 tons per year presently going to landfill.  There are 19,873 tons per year of textiles going to landfill per year that can be diverted to help reach the goal.  Goodwill is working on expanding the number of collection bins in high-rise apartment buildings.  Other plans include setting up textile collection bins in City departments and office buildings.  Ms. Kielty discussed accepted items and the process for participating locations to follow for collected items, e.g., sorting of clothing for reuse and overseas markets, use for the recycled rag market and shoddy cloth.  (Reference Presentation)

Commissioner Gravanis spoke in support of the program and suggested that the campaign be accompanied by a strong educational effort sending a message that people should separate their reusable items because of the labor required to separate items.  Commissioner Wald suggested asking Recology to add campaign information in bills and including textile collection in the Clean Sweep informational flyers and program.  Ms. Kielty reported that Recology’s bulky item collection program will now be accepting unlimited pickup of textiles at no cost.  Acting Director David Assmann suggested that Recology add information about the campaign in their newsletter. 

Public Comment: Mr. Jason Fried suggested reaching out to dry cleaners to make them aware of the program and to influence them to add collection bins at their site.  Commissioner Wald suggested emailing information about the program to green-certified businesses that may be interested in setting up a collection bin.     

5. Discussion of Proposed Change in Clean Construction Ordinance.  (Explanatory Documents:  Clean Construction Public Takeaway March 2014 and Presentation) Sponsor: David Assmann, Acting Director; Speaker:  Wade Wietgrefe, San Francisco Planning Department accompanied by Department of Public Health representative and Bob Hayden, Department of the Environment.

Clean Transportation Program Manager Robert Hayden reported that the Clean Construction Ordinance adopted in 2007 deals with air emissions from off-road construction equipment for large City funded public works projects.  The Ordinance is enforced by departments that issue the contracts.  The Department of Public Health (DPH) has been doing a lot of work identifying pollution hot spots and zones in the city.  The Planning Department and DPH have taken a lead in strengthening the ordinance in air pollutant exposure zones.

San Francisco Planning Department Representative Wade Wietgrefe reported on health effects caused by common air pollutants and the purpose of the Clean Construction Ordinance as a health protection ordinance that applies to public works projects and enforced through contract bids and specifications.  He reported on the Planning Department’s role as required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and its partnership with the Department of Public Health and Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) to work on a citywide strategy to reduce air-pollution caused by off-road construction vehicle exhaust and to map all known sources of pollutants in the City so as to identify health-protection criteria and areas that have past and existing health risks from air pollution.  Individual City departments are enforcing the ordinance and the Department of the Environment’s role is advisory to provide technical assistance and help with funding inquiries.    

Mr. Wietgrefe discussed the current requirements of the ordinance adopted in 2007 that became effective in 2009 and proposed amendments “to require public projects’ construction activities at sites within the Air Pollutant Exposure Zone to use only off-road equipment that meets or exceeds Tier 2 standards and operates with the most effective verified diesel emission control strategy.”   He reported on the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) off-road engine emission standards for off-road or construction equipment from 1995 to 2015+ and strengthening of requirements throughout the years, air pollution modeling efforts, off-road engine availability and emissions, and benefits that would be seen from the proposed amendments.  (Reference Presentation)  

Commissioner Gravanis discussed the feasibility of extending regulations to the private sector.  Mr. Wietgrefe reported on guidance received from the City Attorney’s Office on different approaches to what is proposed, and that one of the strategies is to have a separate ordinance or approach apply to private projects.  CEQA is often times imposing similar requirements to private projects.  Commissioner Wald suggested that a criterion to consider for mapping areas should be the scale and length of time of construction in an area.  She inquired when the ordinance amendments would be considered by the Board.   Mr. Wietgrefe reported that it is hoped in the next month.  Commissioner Wald suggested that the Commission consider a Resolution endorsing the proposal at its March 25th meeting. 

Public Comment:  Mr. Eric Brooks representing San Francisco Green Party and Our City suggested including natural and artificial sources of asbestos exposure in the ordinance, especially for the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood.  He discussed a construction project in the neighborhood that did not monitor asbestos properly, fines that were imposed, and messages he is receiving from agencies that exposure to asbestos fibers is within safe limits.  Mr. Brooks stated that there is no safe level of asbestos fiber exposure, and that there should be stronger language about asbestos in legislation.  Mr. Wietgrefe responded that the proposed amendments are dealing with construction related to exhaust, but that work is in progress with DPH about the effectiveness of the Dust Control Ordinance.  Mr. Brooks suggested wrapping that into the current proposal. 

6. Committee Review and Recommendation to the Commission on the Environment Potential Work on Actions Contained in the Climate Action Strategies.  (Explanatory Documents:  Climate Action Strategy List and Presentation) Sponsor:  David Assmann, Acting Director; Speaker:  Cal Broomhead, Energy Manager (Discussion and Action)

Energy Manager Cal Broomhead announced that the Climate Action Strategies document has been published.  He presented on San Francisco greenhouse gas emissions by source and sector that includes building energy (52%), transportation (43%) and waste (5%) and discussed electricity supply by resource type.  Data from 2010 shows that from 1990-2030, San Francisco’s greenhouse gas emissions meet and would exceed international and state targets if recommendations contained in the Climate Action Strategy were to be implemented as opposed to without state or local climate actions.  Data from 2012 should be available by August 2014.  Since 1990, the source of emissions-reductions was from cleaner electricity and zero waste.  Mr. Broomhead reported that achieving 100% renewable energy would be the largest factor, energy efficiency as second, and then zero waste.  He presented on the 0-50-100 concept whereby 0 equals zero waste, 50% equals mode shift, and 100% for renewable electricity.  He discussed recommendations made and current accomplishments and efforts in the areas of (1) encouraging 100% local renewable energy; (2) “shrinking the pie” by efficiency and conservation measures; (3) transportation mode shift through San Francisco’s Transit First Policy; and (4) strategies for Zero Waste.

Commissioner Wald discussed the idea of creating a community solar program whereby solar could be installed on city-owned properties and utilized by the community.  Mr. Jason Fried reported that the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) has a list of potential sites where solar could be installed, but that the list has not been categorized for the purpose of community solar installations.  Mr. Broomhead stated that there are reservoirs, fire stations, police stations, recreation centers, and libraries located in neighborhoods that could potentially be utilized for community solar.  

Commissioner Wald and Mr. Broomhead discussed additional actions that could be taken to achieve more “shrinkage” until additional strides can be made in the area of clean power. Commissioner Wald suggested creating more partnerships to start talking about the benefits of walking as a way to help achieve San Francisco’s Transit First Policy.  She discussed the need to identify the number of priorities that should be established to work on and what actions could be assigned to these priorities so as to make decisions on how to allocate resources.  Acting Director Assmann stated that all recommendations should be acted on, but the goal is to maximize effectiveness by working on items that have funding and resources, exerting influence on items that funding or resources are not available for, and promoting policies that help move things forward in every area.  Efforts should be prioritized based on maximizing leverage and where the most impact could be achieved.

Acting Director Assmann stated that there should be a future discussion on actions that are not contained in the Climate Action Strategy, such as consumption of goods, which is a major contributor to emissions.   Commissioner Wald suggested starting a political campaign on one topic and recruit partners to work on the topic and fundraise.  Acting Director Assmann suggested that next steps should be to create an implementation plan on the strategies based on available funds and resources.  Commissioner Wald discussed strategies for outreach on the release of the Climate Action Strategies document so that people are aware of what is required to reach goals.  Acting Director Assmann and Mr. Broomhead reported on current and future outreach efforts and presentations on the Climate Action Strategy.  It was suggested that the Outreach Team present on outreach efforts at a future meeting. 

Commissioner Gravanis discussed the recommendation made by the Renewable Energy Task Force about the importance of the CleanPowerSF program in reaching the 100% renewable energy goal and the fact that it was not included as a Climate Action Strategy since SFPUC decided not to move forward on the program.   She suggested that the Commission can still include CleanPowerSF in the document as a recommendation even if there are no plans to move it forward.  Mr. Broomhead reported that the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) issued a Request for Proposal(s) (RFP) to plan the build-out of the efficiency and renewable component of CleanPowerSF.  

Mr. Jason Fried, LAFCo staff, reported that based on the decision by the SFPUC not to move forward on CleanPowerSF, there were questions left unanswered that the RFP will be addressing.   He reported that the SFPUC has been holding discussions with BART about being its energy provider.  He suggested that the Commission hold discussions with the SFPUC at its joint meeting about how SFPUC can help with Climate Action Strategies since it has two-thirds control over reductions.   He stated that it is Important for the Commission to understand what the original implementation plans were for CleanPowerSF, so the Commission can make recommendations on how to move forward.  He stated that the Community Choice Aggregation program would have the biggest impact on greenhouse gas reductions, and that the SFPUC should reconsider the cost-effectiveness of the program in its budget.

Public Comment:

Ms. Lurilla Harris stated that a waste land has been created in the ocean with plastics.  She suggested creating a local and national campaign on less use of plastics, especially for wrapping groceries.  She asked that a Department staff member liaison with the Board of Education to set up a 12-year curriculum that includes an environmental section.  Ms. Harris suggested that a split bin of recycling and composting be considered for those that consume less and for better source separation.    

Mr. Jed Holtzman, Co-Coordinator of 350 San Francisco, discussed the importance of a Community Choice Aggregation program in meeting goals set forth in the Department’s Strategic Plan and in reducing greenhouse gas emissions locally and in the Bay Area.  Mr. Holtzman urged the Department to include the Community Choice Aggregation program in the Climate Action Strategies document because of its importance to the City’s climate and environmental policies and as a way to show support for moving the program forward.  He reported on hearings that will be held at the Board of Supervisors about the status of the CleanPowerSF program and spoke in favor of a public campaign.  Mr. Holtzman reported on SFPUC discussions about selling Hetch Hetchy power to BART and the need for long-term planning and building resiliency in case Hetch Hetchy power cannot be relied on in the future because of the drought situation.   He encouraged the Department to collect and act on data on methane recovery from landfills as a potential energy source.

Mr. Jason Fried discussed the 50 transportation mode shift as it relates to San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s (SFMTA) efficiency program to make the buses run on time by rerouting buses out of areas that need them and moving them to main corridors to try to make them more efficient.  He stated that this action may influence people that no longer have access to these bus routes to drive, and urged the Commission to influence the SFMTA to consider a better plan.  It was suggested that the Commission at its March 25 meeting consider a Resolution to send to the SFMTA.  Mr. Fried suggested that the Department research ways to reduce waste going into landfill by turning it into electricity rather than methane gas.  Acting Director Assmann reported that the Department is actively looking into this issue.    

Mr. Eric Brooks, San Francisco Green Party, Our City, San Francisco Clean Energy Advocates discussed the importance of rewriting the Climate Action Strategies document to include CleanPowerSF and to influence the Mayor’s Office to move the program forward in order to meet the city’s climate goals.  He stated that CleanPowerSF would become a revenue base from electricity customers participating in the program and would leverage bond-funding to build hundreds of megawatts of renewable and efficiency measures.  San Francisco Clean Energy Advocates has recommended Commissioners Wald and Gravanis and Acting Director Assmann and Energy Manager Broomhead be included on the review panel or actively be involved in the LAFCo RFP process.  He stated that the RFP is to finish the work that Local Power was not allowed to finish at the SFPUC in order to produce a plan for local energy.  Mr. Brooks stated that there is now more opportunity for solar and small wind than previously thought because of storage capacity.   He stated that there is a need to reach 100 percent clean electricity by 2035 or 40, not 50, as well as 100 percent ridership on mass transit in every section of the city.  Mr. Brooks suggested that as a way to influence people from driving cars, the free MUNI for Youth program should be expanded to everyone and funded from tax payments from big corporations.

Commissioner Gravanis suggested that the Climate Action Strategy about developing and expanding the local electric vehicle market be phrased in such a way so that the number of electric vehicles sold is not seen as a metric of environmental soundness.  She suggested adding more context about the large amount of resources required and carbon footprint in the manufacture and purchase of a new car.   There should be more emphasis on reducing car ownership per capita or per household instead of expanding the electric vehicle market.  Acting Director Assmann stated that the whole idea of consumption is important in order to tackle the climate crisis.   Commissioner Gravanis asked that the Climate Action Strategy on planting an additional 700,000 trees should include consideration of biological diversity and where trees should be planted.  Commissioner Wald asked that staff provide three or four ideas directly linked to Table 2 of the Climate Action Strategies Plan for Commissioners to work on and for the Committee to discuss at its May 12 Committee meeting.

7. Director’s Report and Updates.  Speaker: David Assmann, Acting Director (Informational Report and Discussion) 

Acting Director Assmann provided an update on the Department of the Environment’s Executive Director and Deputy Director recruitment-process and Executive Director Commission interview-process for the March 25, 2014 meeting.  Commissioners requested copies of Résumés, job description, criteria established, job announcement, and interview questions before the Commission meeting.  Commissioner Wald suggested including more staff representation in the selection process.  Acting Director Assmann reported on upcoming Department events and provided an update on the Department’s Fiscal Year 2014-15 budget. 

8. Communications.  (Explanatory Document:  Correspondence Log) (Information and Discussion)  Commission Secretary Monica Fish provided a written Correspondence Log reporting on Commission communications received and responses issued.
9. Announcements. (Discussion) Commissioner Wald reported that she was unable to set up a meeting with Supervisor Chiu to discuss additional ideas for the bottled water legislation.  Commissioner Gravanis announced that she attended the Board of Supervisors Land Use Committee and suggested that the Ordinance could go farther in the future.

10. New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Discussion)  Commissioner Gravanis suggested future agenda items that include (1) report from Mr. Roger Kim of the Mayor’s Office on the Mayor’s environmental priorities; (2) Department’s electric vehicle policy as it relates to smart consumption, education, and outreach to the public on the environmental footprint of a car; (3) Planning Department Program Manager Jon Swae and Department Biodiversity Coordinator to discuss the Draft Urban Forest Plan and its relationship to biodiversity goals; and (4) discussion on the relationship between the Commission and the Urban Forestry Council. 

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.  There was no public comment at this time.
12. Adjournment.  The Policy Committee meeting adjourned at 7:50 p.m.

The next meeting of the Commission on the Environment Policy Committee meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 14, 2014, 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.  Photo identification is required for access to the building; (2) on the Policy Committee’s website, 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 the website link by meeting date

Approved:  April 9. 2014