Mike Nasi: Committed to Environmental Law

May 12, 2014 | Spotlight

It takes commitment to be effective in environmental law.

It’s a complicated area of law that requires an understanding of both the science behind environmental issues and the business needs of companies that work in this arena. It demands a detail-driven mind to master the ins and outs of permitting and regulatory compliance, along with the vision to see a big-picture view of industry and ecology. It requires the ability keep up with the pace of change and a willingness to champion technological innovations and forward-looking strategies.

Mike NasiWhy take it on? For Mike Nasi, the answer is simple: This is what he’s passionate about.

Mike grew up with a love of the outdoors – hiking, camping, and fishing in the mountains of New Mexico and Colorado was a favorite childhood pastime – and his ecologically minded family gave him an early understanding of the importance of preserving and protecting natural resources. Summers spent working on his mother’s family farm in Iowa underscored that lesson.

Now, he translates that personal involvement into his work on behalf of clients. He’s the go-to guy for navigating the complex domain of environmental permitting and compliance, whether on the local, state, or federal level. He’s also a resource for state officials as they develop and implement new environmental and energy policy. Recently, for example, he was appointed by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to serve as one of six industry representatives on the newly created Tax Relief for Pollution Control Property Advisory Committee, a group that makes recommendations to the TCEQ on matters related to property tax exemptions for pollution control property. And he’s an active promoter of innovative technologies, working with clients and state and federal officials to develop regulatory and financial incentives to spur investment in and advancement of cutting-edge solutions to environmental issues.

In one of his many roles in this arena, he serves as General Counsel to the Clean Coal Technology Foundation of Texas (CCTFT). This group acts to advance energy policy in the state of Texas and beyond and to develop incentive programs to bring about the next generation of coal-based electricity. Working with leaders in the Texas House and Senate, as well as with the Governor’s office and other statewide elected officials, Mike and the CCTFT have been successful over the last three legislative sessions putting together comprehensive statewide regulatory and financial incentives to promote burgeoning clean coal technology projects that include advanced carbon capture and storage methods.

His projects are wide-ranging – involving everything from taking older, higher-polluting vehicles off the road and recycling them into valuable structural steel products, to working with companies that convert waste products into electric power through cutting-edge gasification and combustion technologies, to turning “industrial co-products” such as coal ash and steel slag into usable products in the construction and transportation industries. But at the core of all of these initiatives is a guiding principle – he’s helping his clients develop innovative ways to serve the interests of business while also protecting the planet.

Perhaps this level of deep involvement, constant commitment, and personal passion is why Mike has racked up a string of awards and recognition for his work.

Mike’s commitment to environmental concerns doesn’t end when the workday does. He’s a “green living” believer in his personal life – to the point that he and his family drive cars that run on biodiesel, and he’s installed both solar panels and a rainwater harvesting system at his home. He’s also a board member of the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance, a group that works to ensure that biofuels are produced in a sustainable fashion, and he chairs the Austin Chamber of Commerce’s State Issues Committee, which prioritizes clean technology development. Mike extends his off-the-clock efforts to community service, as he is active on a number of community fronts, including his service on the Austin Area Salvation Army board, where he co-chairs the Development Committee.

Perhaps this level of deep involvement, constant commitment, and personal passion is why Mike has racked up a string of awards and recognition for his work – from being named one of Law 360‘s “Top Ten Environmental Attorneys Under 40 to Watch” in the U.S. to being ranked by The Best Lawyers in America for Environmental law to being recognized as an “Up and Coming” leader by Chambers USA in the area of Environmental law. The awards are nice, but what Mike cares about is that he’s doing work he loves – helping his clients do work that matters.