Exclusive Inteview with Sean Todd, Founder of Fox Patomac Resources

by The Green A-Team

As founder and president of Fox Potomac Resources, Sean Todd has over a decade of work within the Legislative Branch, Executive Branch and private sector lobbying arena in Washington, D.C. Prior to founding FPR, he spent three years in the government affairs and marketing offices of International Technology Corporation. He is responsible for the development, implementation and management of firm’s activities, including client development, execution of work and deliverables, and sole P&L responsibilities.

Q: What is holding legislative bodies from passing Green building policies?

A: What’s holding back the House of Representatives specifically in passing financial incentives and tax rebates to promote the use of green technologies in buildings is a policy known as pay-as-you-go.  Pay-as-you-go is a principle that if you’re passing tax credits, subsidies as some people call them, that the House of Reps, especially the “blue dogs, the coservative to moderate Democrats, want to make sure that we have a balanced budget.  In other words, for tax credits to be passed it’s gotta be taken out from somewhere else in the general revenues.  So they have to look for offsets, Rich, in somewhere else in the tax code or in the appropriations process to pay for these tax credits in green buildings and that has been, I would say, the major obstacle in finding those offsets to pay for green building tax credits.

Now in the Senate, there is no obstacle there because the blue dogs are a House body and they don’t have as much as a firm pay-as-you-go principle on the Senate side.

Q: What is the current status of the green building initiative before the House Financial Services Committee?

A: Well, Rich, the current status of Green building tax codes and tax legislation really goes before the House Ways and Means Committee which is responsible for all tax pieces of legislation.  So Financial Services is the Committee that really has jurisdiction over mortgage credits, banks… the Financial Services Committee is more of an authorizer, if you will, the Ways and Means Committee has to do more with passing actual tax legislation.

Q: With Republicans objecting to previous bills and other like it, do you feel the new administration will be more aggressive to pushing incentives to building green and other environmental actions going forward?

A: Absolutely, Rich.  The Obama Administration will be more aggressive in pushing green building tax credits.  If you read Obama’s plan, he has a fairly aggressive plan to make all new buildings carbon neutral by 2030, he has a goal to establish new building efficiency by 50% and by 25% over the next decade, he wants to establish a competitive grant program for early adopters to make awards for those states and localities who take the first steps implementing those new building codes.  As far as Federal buildings go, it’s even more aggressive under Obama’s plan; he wants to achieve a 40% increase in efficiency in all new Federal buildings within five years and also ensure that all new Federal buildings have zero emissions, in other words, a zero carbon footprint by 2025.  Very aggressive goal.

Q: It seems most developers are on board with this and it doesn’t seem too far fetched.

A: Well, they are expensive and if you build green technologies into your mortgage they’re not as expensive but they are at the moment, sort of expensive to put in there.  I think the first opportunity will be with Obama’s windfall profit tax initiative.  He wants to all companies to take a share of their windfall profits and use it to provide direct relief to individuals and married couples, $500 for individuals, $1000 for a married couple, and I think that will be an opportunity, perhaps, to insert some of these green building tax credits.  We’ll have to wait and see.  It really depends on the leadership in the House and Senate, Max Baucus in the Senate and Charlie Rangel in the House.

Q: What is the relationship in your perspective between the economic crisis and the environmental crisis?

A: Well that’s a big question, Rich. I’m not sure I have the scope of a mind to tackle this.  I think Obama recognizes that they’re both enormous challenges and Presidents can only do so much, they can only really focus on 4, 5, 6 things at a time and he’s gotta establish his priorities.  He said in his second debate, then Senator Obama said that he would have energy as his top priority so we’ll see if he lives up to that commitment.

Photo by bno20.

Leave a Reply

[Post to Twitter]   [Post to Digg]   [Post to Reddit]   [Post to StumbleUpon]
Make Current