Space Featured in E&E Story Titled “Former Blue Dog Congressman, Focusing on Energy, Helps Lead Lobby Firm Growth”

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Zack Space, a principal with Vorys Advisors, was the focus of an E&E story titled “Former Blue Dog Congressman, Focusing on Energy, Helps Lead Lobby Firm Growth.”  The story is republished below with permission from E&E.


Former Blue Dog Congressman, Focusing on Energy, Helps Lead Lobby Firm Growth

Former Rep. Zack Space (D-Ohio) is helping lead what he calls the "amping up" of Vorys Advisors LLC's government affairs practice in Washington, D.C.

Vorys Advisors is an arm of Ohio-based law firm Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP. It already had a presence in Washington, Space said, but is now in the process of expanding.

"I spend time both in eastern Ohio and Columbus," Space said during a recent interview, "as well as Washington." Clients include Buckingham Coal Co. and the Ohio Oil & Gas Association, according to lobbying disclosure records.

Space, now 53, arrived in Congress in 2007 to replace Rep. Bob Ney (R), who became embroiled in the Jack Abramoff scandal. Space then survived until 2010, when current Rep. Bob Gibbs (R) came in riding that year's Republican wave.

Space, a member of the Blue Dog Coalition of centrist and conservative Democrats, is now using his connections to help push for what he sees as moderate policies, including those related to energy.

"This is a region that I call home. I have a personal interest in ensuring to the extent that I can that it's done properly," Space said about energy development.

When it comes to coal, Space opposes President Obama's regulatory agenda with respect to climate change and coal-fired power plants.

"There's a lot of anxiety in the region over the president's proposed EPA regulations on carbon emissions," said Space, speaking about the state's coal fields.

At the same time, unlike many critics of the president, he thinks regulation could help boost carbon capture and sequestration for coal-fired plants. The technology is seen as a way to make such plants viable in a carbon-constrained world.

Space is also a booster of making CCS more economically viable by using the trapped carbon for enhanced oil or natural gas recovery. "It's almost a perfect storm, almost too good to be true," he said. "Obviously, much has to be done to make sure this happens."

CCS boosters often talk about using trapped carbon for stimulating depleted oil wells. There are challenges, however, involved with transporting the gas. Many coal plants and mines may be too far from business centers to make it economical.

But Space thinks policymakers should also focus on using trapped CO2 for stimulating old gas wells, many of which are closer to the Appalachian coal fields and power plants along the Ohio River.

"I know that there's interest. I think there's going to be some need for government intervention in terms of incentivizing it more," Space said. "Technology continues to progress."

Space is also a leader in the CoalBlue Project, a coalition of pro-coal Democrats. He said the group hopes to dispel the "national impression that Democrats are bad for coal" and will continue to work to protect pro-coal Democrats like Rep. Nick Rahall of West Virginia, who was defeated during last month's elections.

Space said the group also hopes to pressure Obama on coal. "No matter how anxious we might be to get rid of coal because of its propensities from carbon emissions," he said, "it is simply not feasible and possible to do so."

With Space, who has been at Vorys for about three years, coming at the issues from a Democratic perspective, the firm has also tapped Republican Andrew Harding, a top Department of Energy aide during the President George W. Bush administration, for its expansion. Harding was government affairs director for USA Synthetic Fuel Corp.

"So we like to think we provide a full service: local, statewide and national government relations service," Space said.