Marin Biomass Project Steering Committee

Appointment and responsibilities

MRCD has appointed a Steering Committee (Committee) to provide general oversight of the Biomass Study. The Committee will:

    1. assist in development of RFPs and Biomass study scope of work;
    2. evaluate proposals submitted under the Study Consultant RFP, interview candidates, and recommend a consultant for the contract;
    3. review and approve preliminarily Biomass Study Consultant deliverables;
    4. oversee the formation and operations of the Biomass Collaborative;
    5. represent Marin Biomass with OPR learning cohorts through webinars and other exchanges.



The Steering Committee includes representatives from key local Joint Powers Authorities, including Zero Waste Marin (ZWM) and the Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority (MWPA). It also includes stakeholders with relevant expertise and interest who participated in the development phase of the Project.

Belle Cole
Belle Cole (Chair) – Ecologically Sound Practices Partnership

Belle is a leader and organizer of climate and environmental organizations in Marin. During her long career as a public policy specialist, she has brought workable and lasting solutions to complex issues. In 2020, she recruited a team, successfully competed for endorsement from Drawdown Marin and launched the Marin Biomass Project. She also helped found and leads the Ecologically Sound Practices Partnership (ESP) and is co-chair of the To Lead on Climate coalition. She is chair of the longstanding climate education and advocacy group, Organizing for Action Marin. Previously, Belle was Director of Research and Public Policy at the University of California and, together with her late husband, Professor David Wilson, founded and led the Planning Management and Research Group Inc, a science policy consulting firm. She has studied with leading economists and worked on economic development abroad and in Washington DC. She has a BA from Mount Holyoke College and a MA degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Bill Carney
Bill Carney – Sustainable San Rafael

Bill is president of Sustainable San Rafael, which advocates for the rapid implementation of the San Rafael Climate Action Plan. He is a founding board member of MarinCAN, a countywide public/private initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 60% by 2030 and below net zero by 2045. He served on the San Rafael General Plan 2040 Steering Committee, chaired the City’s Citizens Advisory Committee on Economic Development and Affordable Housing, and co-chairs the Time to Lead on Climate coalition. As a landscape architect, Bill managed the design and construction of Yerba Buena Gardens for the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency. He is past president of San Francisco Friends of the Urban Forest, finance chair of Yerba Buena Arts & Events, and helped launch the Museum of the African Diaspora. His publications include Cities, a nuclear peace poem, and Mountain, An Evolutionary Epic. He holds a Masters of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning from UC Berkeley.

Christopher Carstens
Christopher Carstens – Carbo Culture

Chris brings more than 20 years of climate related engineering experience to the Steering Committee. He is a California native with a passion for finding elegant solutions to complex problems. Since graduating from UC Berkeley he has worked on a wide range of technologies including bioenergy, biofuels, and most recently biochar for atmospheric carbon removal. As Co-Founder and CTO of Carbo Culture, he brings a unique perspective on both the technical challenges associated with biomass utilization and the market forces at play in the rapidly evolving carbon removal space. Chris previously served as a member of the US Department of Energy’s Methane Hydrate Advisory Committee.

Jeffrey Creque
Jeffrey Creque – Carbon Cycle Institute

Jeff has been involved in Marin County Agriculture for over 40 years, including 35 years as a farmer. Jeff helped start the Bolinas-Stinson Beach Resource Recovery project in 1997, and the West Marin Compost Project in 2011, and continues to serve as a technical consultant on both projects. He served four years as a field conservationist with the Marin RCD, and co-founded the Marin Carbon Project and Carbon Cycle Institute, where he currently serves as Director of Rangeland and Agroecosystem Management. Jeff holds a Ph.D. in Rangeland Ecology and is a USDA-NRCS certified conservation planner.

Barbara George
Barbara George – Organizing for Action Marin

Barbara provides her financial and business background to the Steering Committee as she focuses on budgeting, financial analysis, and website development. She moved to CA after a grant making stint in Washington D.C. and obtaining her MBA from Harvard Business School. Her professional experience in CA includes over 35 years in publicly traded companies and non-profit organizations leading finance teams in revenue generation, budget formulation, financial analysis, financial systems implementations, and the strategic planning process. She has been active in several Marin environmental and community organizations since moving to Marin in 1998 from the east bay.

Bruce Goines
Bruce Goines – Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority

Bruce comes to the Marin Biomass utilization and greenhouse gas project as the two term President of the Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority and Director of the Novato Fire Protection district. Bruce retired from the US Forest Service in 2014 after 40 years of service as a wildland firefighter and licensed professional forester. In his last 20 years with the US Forest Service, Bruce managed statewide forest community health, woody biomass utilization, climate change and forest carbon management programs for California’s 18 National Forests. He led interdisciplinary teams conducting pioneering studies assessing greenhouse gas implications of different approaches to forest management in California. His efforts have resulted in over $200MM investment in forest health management of public forest lands. Bruce graduated from UC Berkeley with a Bachelor of Science in Forest Resource Management and retains his license as a CA Registered Professional Forester.

Larry Minikes
Larry Minikes – Marin Conservation League

Larry, a 50-year Marin resident, brings 30 years of involvement in conservation, environmental and community issues. He is in his ninth year as board member of the Marin Conservation League and also currently serves on both the Ecologically Sounds Practices steering committee and the Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority’s Citizen Oversight Committee. Among his past initiatives, Larry founded the Marin Water Watershed Citizen’s Advisory Committee in 1999-2001. In 2019, he co-chaired the Marin Water Infrastructure Citizen Advisory Panel. His past service includes terms as former president of the Bay Area Trails Council and as president of the Tamalpais Conservation Club. Larry brings a wide-ranging background, from working on farms and factories as a teen to a past retail buying career which brought him to nearly two dozen countries. Entrepreneurial, he currently works in the product design-development field.

Andres Shelton
Andrew Shelton – Zero Waste Marin, Liaison

Andrew comes to the Marin Biomass project as a liaison for the Marin County Hazardous and Solid Waste Management Joint Powers Authority (JPA). He spent the past two decades in the solid waste industry and helped bring the first large scale dry anaerobic digester to the bay area. Andrew brings first firsthand experience with composting and sorting facilities as well as waste hauler operations and logistical planning.


Meeting Schedule

The Steering Committee meets weekly during the periods of contract awards & review of deliverables and bi-monthly during project start-up; otherwise, meetings are monthly.

Biomass Collaborative

The Steering Committee is organizing a wider Biomass Collaborative as a forum to share information and insights and discuss Project results with the Steering Committee. The purpose of the Collaborative is to help key public and private organizations improve biomass utilization in alignment with their respective operations and interests. The Collaborative has no standing responsibilities under grant funding. Its nature and objectives are expected to evolve as the Project progresses.