Last week, we sat down with Randy Teague, a partner at the law firm of Vorys, Sater, Seymour, and Pease. In this very timely segment, Focus Washington’s Karen Hanretty discusses the potential impact, both positive and harmful, of “cap-and-trade” legislation on Ohio industries. The transcript follows below:
Focus Washington: Randy Teague on Cap-and-Trade Legislation
Posted on 09-09-2009
Karen Hanretty: Hi, I’m Karen Hanretty sitting in today for Chuck Conconi at Focus Washington and joining me today is Randy Teague. He is a partner at the law firm of Vorys, Sater, Seymour, and Pease. Randy, thank you for joining us.
Randy Teague: Glad to be with you.
Karen Hanretty: We’re here to talk about cap-and-trade legislation, Congress is about to return from recess. Tell us first, what is the impact of cap-and-trade, explain it if you can for the audience.
Randy Teague: I’d be glad to do that. Cap-and-trade is a strategy to reduce air emissions and other contaminates. It’s climate change. It means we have to reduce hydro-carbon use, but what that requires industry to do is to reduce its own emissions into the atmosphere. Cap-and-trade originally was a private sector concept of recognizing the emissions, recognizing the damage, and then trading among companies themselves. Now, it has emerged in the House legislation as cap-and-tax and trade-and-tax, so it has profound implications for the budget of the United States as well as for clean air in the environment.
Karen Hanretty: Can you tell us what do you think are the prospects for cap-and-trade between now and the end of the year?
Randy Teague: I think that prospects are minimal but it could happen. Congress obviously has to deal with health care first, then the appropriation bills. They could get this done this year in a long session.
Karen Hanretty: Now, this is an enormous bill, of course it’s Congress, it’s lengthy with a lot of impact on industry in America and on your clients as well and Ohio specifically, right? Ohio depends on coal for affordable electricity. Tell us what are the impacts on industry in America.
Randy Teague: Well, the impacts on industry in America and Ohio are the same. Significant impact on jobs, income, providing products and services to the customers. It’s going to be significant. How it impacts a specific company depends on how that company positions itself in the legislation and then how it positions itself after the legislation is passed.
Karen Hanretty: Is there anything good that can come for the state of Ohio out of a cap-and-trade bill?
Randy Teague: Well, Ohio like many of the industrial states, is on both sides of this issue. You do have coal which is a target of this bill, but you also have many companies that are doing wind power, and our law firm leads Ohio in wind power permitting. Ohio has natural gas which is a very clean energy fuel but has been treated badly in the House bill. We have bio-fuels, we have clean air incineration, electrical power generation, so Ohio sits on both sides of this issue.
Karen Hanretty: So, if you think there are prospects that it might pass by the end of the year, what are you telling your clients? How should they prepare?
Randy Teague: Our clients can best prepare by getting themselves well-positioned in the Senate bill which, unlike the House bill, has not yet been passed. Clients and Ohio industry have to get the best they can out of the legislation. Then, once the President signs the bill, they have to position themselves to get the best that they can out of the regulations that are going to be forthcoming.
Karen Hanretty: Tell me specifically about your law firm and how they’re structured in order to provide the best advice to corporations to minimize the impact of this bill.
Randy Teague: We have responded by creating a climate change practice group within the firm which covers all of the different areas of the firm that are brought into this issue. Vorys leads the state of Ohio in clean air permitting and in wind power generation permitting. Our law firm is really prepared to help any client that comes through the door sort out how this bill can adversely affect them and what they need to do to assure reduction of those adverse affects.
Karen Hanretty: Ok. Very good, Randy thank you for joining us.
Randy Teague: Not a problem.
Karen Hanretty: This has been very informative.
Randy Teague: Glad to do it.
Karen Hanretty: I’m Karen Hanretty with Focus Washington, thanks for joining us.