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Commission on the Environment Regular Meeting

July 28, 2020 @ 5:00 pm 7:00 pm

San Francisco Department of the Environment
RSVPs are no longer available

View Meeting Agenda

  • Follow the Meeting (via SFGovTV) – www.sfgovtv.org
  • Call 1-415-655-0001 (Access Code: 146 435 2566).
  • To raise your hand for public comment on items #7 and #8: dial *3 on a phone. Speak when prompted by the meeting moderator.

Talking Points

Hi, I’m __. I’m a resident of San Francisco.

I strongly support prohibiting gas in new construction. The methane leaks, air pollution, and explosion dangers of natural gas are no longer necessary for the functioning of our homes and businesses. San Francisco can lead the state and the country in building a better future.

As [pick one, or make up your own]:

  • A parent
  • A health professional
  • A renter
  • Someone who loves being outdoors
  • Someone who suffers from asthma
  • A resident of the Southeast corridor
  • A chef
  • … [your job, hobbies, etc] …

Prohibiting the expansion of natural gas in our buildings is important to me because [pick a relevant reason, or make up your own]:

  • Children growing up in homes with gas stoves are significantly more likely to have asthma than those growing up in homes with electric stoves.

  • Air pollution from natural gas use increases asthma, lung cancer, deaths from most respiratory diseases including a marked increase in risks from COVID-19.

  • Electrification reduces GHG emissions from homes by 30 – 60% as compared with mixed fuel buildings–and this savings will only rise as the CA and SF energy grid gets cleaner.

  • On average in the United States, a natural gas or oil pipeline catches fire every four days, results in an injury every five days, explodes every 11 days, and leads to a fatality every 26 days.

  • Efficient electric heat pumps result in lower utility bills than gas for space and water heating and provide air conditioning as a bonus amenity!

  • Induction stoves are fun and easy to cook with, unlike old electric resistance ones

  • All-electric homes are already the norm in affordable housing developments, since they are cheaper to build and maintain than buildings with natural gas

I would also like to ask the commission to recommend the changes to the ordinance as laid out by Earthjustice, the San Francisco Climate Emergency Coalition, the Sierra Club, and other local groups in their letter to the Commission and Board.

It is important to me that we: [pick one, or all, or none]

  • Eliminate the blanket exemption for commercial kitchens delaying compliance until 2022. I know that restaurants are really struggling now, but existing restaurants are not helped by giving builders a pass on making future commercial kitchens all-electric.

  • Eliminate the feasibility exception to the electric-ready requirement and make fully electric-ready construction a baseline requirement for new construction. We know that the future is electric. Allowing any building to be built that will require massive retrofits in the near future is unacceptable. With full electric readiness, we minimize that retrofit cost.

  • Expand the ordinance’s definition of “mixed-fuel buildings” to include laboratory, industrial, and decorative uses of gas. Gas shouldn’t be allowed for upscale decorative uses. It’s wrong to harm public health for private enjoyment.

  • Provide additional limitations and transparency in the exemption process to ensure any project found exempt for infeasibility is truly in the public interest. I’m concerned about the news of powerful and connected people being able to get favors from DBI. We need sunshine on the exemption process, and exemptions should only be given in the public interest.

  • Amend Ordinance section 106A.1.17 to require that the Building Official find “sufficient evidence was submitted to substantiate the infeasibility of an All-Electric Building or Project design without regard to financial, floor-area, or amenity-related loss unless deemed to be in the public welfare.” The housing crisis is real. And we need to find ways of fixing it without sacrificing our children’s future. The space taken up by a transformer should not be an acceptable reason for an exemption.

Thank you for taking up this important issue and considering the health and safety of our residents and climate.

Decision Makers

Heather Stephenson (President)

Heather Stephenson is an accomplished business strategist, brand builder, and entrepreneur. Over the past 20 years, she has worked with a range of media businesses and non-profits, including Microsoft, NBC and BBC, and she built and sold Ideal Bite – a green-focused media business to The Walt Disney Company in 2008. Today, Stephenson works with new startups, helping them to build consumer brands, products, and communications strategies to go to market successfully.

Eddie Ahn (Vice President)

Eddie Ahn is the executive director of Brightline Defense, a public policy and legal nonprofit dedicated to empowering communities and sustainable environments. Brightline’s environmental justice work includes promoting renewable energy for low-income and mid-income households as well as good-paying jobs for local underemployed and historically marginalized communities. Prior to being a nonprofit attorney, he was an AmeriCorps member, serving as an afterschool programmer in Oakland’s Chinatown. While working toward his law degree, he continued to teach art and public speaking workshops for youth and worked on civil justice and environmental issues for the Assembly Judiciary Committee in Sacramento. His workforce development expertise and analysis of federal constitutional law has also assisted multiple municipalities in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York.

On October 4, 2017, Eddie was appointed by Mayor Ed Lee to the San Francisco Commission on the Environment.  He also serves on the board of Mission Housing Development Corporation, one of the largest nonprofit developers in San Francisco.

Eddie has received his J.D. from University of California, Hastings College of the Law and his B.A. from Brown University. He is also a member of the California State Bar.

Elmy Bermejo

Commissioner Elmy Bermejo was appointed by the Mayor as a Commissioner for the Commission on the Environment on May 14, 2015.  She is also  Director of Intergovernmental Affairs at the U.S. Department of Labor.  In her capacity as Director, she is responsible for strengthening relationships with the National Governors Association, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Association of Counties, the U.S. League of Cities and other organizations.

Elmy served on the Board of Directors of Leadership California. For more than 20 years, she was dedicated to public service positions in California and in Washington D.C., serving as the Interim Executive Director of the Latino Issues Forum, as Chair of the California State Commission on the Status of Women, and as Deputy Secretary, State and Consumer Services Agency for the State of California. She also served as special assistant to Senator Don Perata, working on issues that impact women and children, outreach to the Latino/Latina community and work with the ethnic media. As a board member of Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE), Elmy chaired Latina Action Day in Sacramento. 

Johanna Wald

Johanna Wald is a Senior Attorney in NRDC’s San Francisco office.  She has been with NRDC since 1973, during which time she has become one of the nation’s leading advocates for protection and improved management of federal public lands.  Ms. Wald received her law degree from Yale University and her undergraduate degree from Cornell University.  She has been involved in a number of major legal challenges to federal energy programs, including coal and oil and gas programs in the Intermountain West.   For approximately the last four years she has led NRDC’s efforts to facilitate the identification and designation of appropriate sites for development of renewable energy projects as well as associated necessary transmission.

Ms. Wald’s honors include being named, in 1992, the National Wildlife Federation’s lawyer of the year.  In 1993, she was named one of ten Pew Scholars in Conservation and the Environment and, in 1998, she received the Environmental Leadership Award from the Ecology Law Quarterly at the University of California’s Boalt Hall School of Law. 

Ms. Wald is a member of the Boards of Directors of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, the American Wind Wildlife Institute, and Carpe Diem West, a Bay-area based environmental non-profit.  She also serves as a member of San Francisco’s Commission on the Environment and is the Chair of the Commission’s Policy Committee.

Sarah Ching Ting Wan

Sarah Ching-Ting Wan is currently the Executive Director of CYC (Community Youth Center of San Francisco), founded in 1970 by prominent Asian community leaders in response to an escalation in gang violence and crime in San Francisco. Ms. Wan was born and grew up in Hong Kong before moving to the United States to continue her secondary education at Sacred Heart Cathedral College Preparatory.  She pursued her undergraduate study in Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and received a full scholarship to an international study program at Japan’s Kyushuu University.  In 2002, Ms. Wan received her Master of Social Work with concentration in administration and planning from San Francisco State University.  Ms. Wan has over 15 years of experience in youth services and has been an advocate for the Asian American community, especially for immigrant youth in juvenile justice and education.  She was recognized as the API Heritage Month’s Honoree in 2013 by the Office of District Attorney.  She was also honored with the Blue Cross Community Award in 2004 and was a recipient of the “Everyday Hero Award” from Compass Point in 2001.  She also served as a Commissioner on the Juvenile Probation Commission of the City and County of San Francisco from 2010 to 2013.

Tiffany Chu

Tiffany Chu is a designer, planner, and founder at Remix. She and her team, based in San Francisco and Amsterdam, are working with over 350+ cities around the world to plan their transportation future. She’s passionate about changing the built environment of our cities to be better designed for people and our planet, and creating impact through user-centered design and technology. She has been named in Forbes’ 30 Under 30, LinkedIn’s Next Wave of Leaders Under 35 in Government, Curbed’s Young Guns, and has spoken at SXSW, Helsinki Design Week, and the New York Times Cities for Tomorrow Conference. Previously, Tiffany was a Fellow at Code for America, partnering with the City of Charlotte to launch their first open data initiative. Tiffany is also an alum of Y Combinator, was the first user experience designer at Zipcar, wrote for Dwell, and studied architecture and urban planning at MIT. She hopes to never own a car during her lifetime.

Mike Sullivan

On May 10, 2018, Mike Sullivan was appointed by Mayor Mark Farrell to the San Francisco Commission on the Environment.  He also serves on the San Francisco Urban Forestry Council, and served on the San Francisco Recreation and Park Commission from 2007-2010.  

Mike has been involved with San Francisco urban forestry for many years.  He is the author of Trees of San Francisco, published in a 2nd edition in 2013.   He served for many years on the board of directors of Friends of the Urban Forest, including service as board president.  

Mike received his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School and his B.A. from Williams College.  He is a partner at the Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe law firm, where his practice involves representation of startup companies in the technology and cleantech sectors.  Mike lives in San Francisco’s Cole Valley neighborhood with his husband Paul and son Joseph.


July 28, 2020
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Event Category:


Commission on the Environment