Biocom - Life Sciences Association of California
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Public Policy Newsletter

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Local & Regulatory Affairs

Facilities Committee to Discuss Changes to City Regulations and Costa Verde Center
On January 26th, Biocom will host its first Facilities Committee meeting of 2017. The committee provides regular learning opportunities for facilities related personnel through committee meetings, quarterly workshops, and networking events. At the January meeting, Russ Gibbon with the City of San Diego’s economic development department will present on proposed changes to the city’s land development code. These changes would allow generators and other removable equipment to be located within side and rear yard setbacks.

The committee will also discuss proposed changes to the Costa Verde Center, located at the corner of Genesee Avenue and Nobel Drive. Regency Centers has submitted plans to the City of San Diego to transform the center by adding new restaurants and shops, a hotel and meeting rooms, residential units, and a rooftop park that will connect to the new Mid-Coast Trolley UTC Station. More information on their proposal can be found here

Please join us if you’d like to provide input on the city’s new regulations or the redevelopment of Costa Verde Center. RSVP for this free meeting (lunch is provided).  

New City of San Diego and County of San Diego Elected Officials Take Office 
Over the past two months, newly elected officials have been assuming their posts at the San Diego City Council and County Board of Supervisors. At City Council, new faces include Georgette Gomez (District 9), Chris Ward (District 3), and Barbara Bry, who will represent District 1 where the majority of life science companies are located within the city.

Councilmember Bry is a former tech entrepreneur who has expressed a desire to use regulatory processes to make it easier for local companies to attract venture capital. Biocom staff met with the Councilmember in December about flooding issues in Sorrento Valley, to bring her up to speed on our members’ issues in that area. We look forward to working closely with her to support Biocom members in District 1 and throughout San Diego.

At the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, Kristin Gaspar joined the Board on January 9th after a narrow defeat of Supervisor Dave Roberts in District 3. With Gaspar’s election, the Board resumes its previous makeup of all Republicans. Similar to District 1 at the city, the County’s District 3 includes Torrey Pines, UTC, Sorrento Valley, and other neighborhoods that house Biocom member companies. During her campaign, Gaspar toured Biocom member Illumina with our staff, and we plan to soon hold a roundtable discussion to brief her on the issues important to our members.

County of San Diego Hazardous Materials Division to Consider Fee Changes
The County of San Diego Department of Environmental Health's Hazardous Materials Division (HMD) is conducting stakeholder outreach for its Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA) cost recovery proposal. The Unified Program regulates Biocom member facilities to ensure they are in compliance with California Environmental Protection Agency regulations; HMD regularly inspects facilities to that end. 
The proposal will be presented at Biocom's regular Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) Committee meeting on February 16th at 8:30am at Biocom. We will be joined by Maryam Dorsey, the HMD Chief. Her presentation will include the proposed cost recovery proposal for all HMD programs followed by a question and answer session.

Information regarding HMD’s cost recovery proposal is available online here.

RSVP for this meeting to Melanie Cohn at

Biocom Supports New SDG&E Natural Gas Pipeline
At its January meeting, the Biocom Legislative Committee ratified a support position for San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E)'s new Pipeline Safety & Reliability Project (PSRP), a proposed 47-mile natural gas transmission pipeline that would start near the Riverside County line and connect with SDG&E’s natural gas system on Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. SDG&E has submitted the project for approval with the California Public Utilities Commission. 

SDG&E’s existing natural gas transmission system primarily relies on one pipeline for 90 percent of the natural gas delivered to San Diego, and another older pipeline constructed in 1949 for the rest. Under state law, an existing pipeline constructed in 1949 needs to be either pressure-tested or replaced. Pressure-testing is costly and requires taking the line out of service, which could mean service interruptions to customers. This project would replace the aging pipeline with a new larger, modern pipeline. The proposed pipeline would reduce the region’s dependence on one primary pipeline, making the natural gas system more reliable.
Natural gas is used in life science facilities to heat spaces that are in use day-and-night, control temperatures on process development, and efficiently operate scientific equipment such as autoclave sterilizers, boilers, and even still the occasional Bunsen burner.

Biocom members voted to support the pipeline replacement proposed in PSRP to avoid service interruptions, improve the pipeline’s safety outlook, and upgrade to more reliable, modern technology.
Upcoming Public Policy Events
Annual Biocom PAC Legislative Staff Appreciation Reception
March 14, 2017
5:00 PM
Oncology Advocacy Fly-In
April 5, 2017
4:00 PM