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Let's Schmooze Scott Sklar, Sunny Side Up

Fortnightly Magazine - April 15 1998

of Conservation Voters and it promotes business. We have never lost a floor vote, ever."

Carter: "Great. Well, I'm ready."

Sklar: "And we don't want to wuss out this year either if Domenici doesn't agree¼"

Carter: "I won't be a wuss."

Connolly: "Finally, on the tax end, there's a staff meeting to discuss a potential green tax package."

Sklar: "Let me give you some guidance on that. The administration didn't really discuss this with me, and in some ways I was really infuriated about it, because I've had immense interaction both on the Million Solar Roofs initiatives, the Kyoto stuff, this appropriation package that came out the door¼ Tax stuff? Out of the blue. I was suggesting a production tax credit, not an investment tax credit for water heating. They decided that was going to be a pain in the butt to meter¼ So they agreed to do an investment tax credit, but lower caps. We want you to feel flexible on how you deal with our portion of the credits. Do not feel you are tied to the administration proposal or that by supporting the administration, you're carrying our water. If there's a better way of doing it, we're open."

11:56 A.M. Connolly bows out of the meeting.

Sklar, latching on to the fact that Carter has come to Jeffords' office by way of EPA, mentions that the agency was deficient in working with renewable and efficiency technologies.

"We have no renewables shop at EPA," Carter says. "No renewables anything."

Sklar says a senior EPA staffer told him the agency didn't want to get into renewables because "DOE does renewables."

"I said if you think the role of EPA is just to look at the end of the smokestack and the end of the tailpipe, that's great. But if you think EPA's job is to promote more cost-effective uses of truly clean technology, you've got to be part of it."

He relates his Carol Browner "vat of chemicals" story.

Carter: "I don't know the best way to do that, but I'll talk with Ken."

12:12 P.M. Leaving Jeffords' office, Sklar assesses the meeting: "Your average get-acquainted schmooze with the energy staff, who you've got to be cozy to¼ they were very receptive to all my ideas. I got a commitment out of the staff director to meet with Domenici's staff on funding issues, which was one of my goals. I got them willing to accept net metering (em one of my priorities (em in their next restructuring package¼ overall, good."

The next lobbyist hitching post for the day: the Monocle restaurant, by way of the Hart building landscaping. More tracks in the mud.

12:17 P.M. At lunch Sklar (em over bean soup, salad, chilled trout, a cappuccino (em gets back to Jeffords' bill. "Most of us, by the way, believe we're not going to win much on the committee side of these issues, so we're going to go to the floor and be very public."

Sklar revisits his largest personal political black eye, in the mid-1980s when tax credits were ready