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Michael C. Mentel
Partner

MICHAEL C. MENTEL is a partner in Taft’s Environmental group. He focuses his practice in the areas of environmental law, renewable energy, regulatory compliance, government relations and contract law. He is the former Columbus City Council President and has represented a wide variety of clients in both private and public sectors for nearly 30 years.

Mike understands the impact that environmental regulations can have on a company’s bottom line. He has helped corporate and government clients navigate through environmental compliance issues while providing advice on how to avoid such issues in the future. In some instances, a client may benefit from exploring renewable energy technology that increases the bottom line and decreases the cost of compliance. Mike has negotiated with private and public organizations to form partnerships and advance the implementation of renewable energy projects and assisted clients with navigating the state and FERC regulations to further those projects.

In addition to serving in the private sector as corporate general counsel to large environmental consulting firms and as chief legal officer to the largest solid waste authority in Ohio, Mike served as a supervising attorney to the Ohio EPA, overseeing the enforcement of Ohio’s remediation and superfund sites. He negotiated Administrative Consent Orders on behalf of the agency to resolve remedial liability for hazardous substance disposal violations at sites in Ohio. Mike also actively served on the initial Ohio EPA team to draft and write the law that became the Voluntary Action Program in Ohio. He has represented major corporations on federal and Ohio Clean Water Act violations in both administrative and judicial settings. Mike also has extensive experience with Ohio’s solid waste laws, RCRA and commerce clause issues relating to the transportation of solid and hazardous waste and other materials.

Understanding how local and regional government operates is critical to any company. Finding someone who has served first hand in elected office with insight into how the decision makers approach issues is rare. Mike brings that insight and experience as he represents his clients. He was elected to three consecutive terms as council president, and during his time in office, Mike forged valuable relationships at the local, regional and federal levels and worked closely with the business community to attract, retain and grow Columbus’s economic landscape.

Honors

  • Community Shelter Board Leadership Award (June 2011)
  • Building Today for a Positive Tomorrow Program - Certificate of Appreciation
  • Central Ohio Crime Stoppers Award of Appreciation (2002, 2003, 2007, 2010)
  • Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence Life Award (2009)
  • John C. Maloney Leadership Award, St. Stephens Community House (2008)
  • Ohio Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, Outstanding Support (2007)
  • Hero Award of the Community Shelter Board (2006)
  • Chambers and Partners - Selected by peers as one of the top environmental attorneys in Ohio (2003)
  • Ohio Air National Guard Award for Support of our Troops (2003)
  • Literacy Initiative Certificate of Appreciation (September 2002)
  • Franklin County Democratic Party Officeholder of the Year (2001)
  • Ohio EPA Outstanding Performance Award (1992)
  • Ohio EPA Outstanding Teamwork Award (1993)

Professional/Community Involvement

Current

  • Columbus Catholic Diocese Bishops Annual Appeal, Chair (2015-present)
  • Columbus 2020 Create Committee (2008-present)
  • Community Housing Partnership (Homeport) (2011-present)
  • Boys & Girls Club of Central Ohio (2011-present)
  • Shamrock Club of Columbus, Ohio, Member
  • Ancient Order of Hibernians, Patrick Pearse Division, Member
  • St. Catharine Parish, Member

Former Positions

  • Columbus Coalition Against Family Violence Board Member (2000-2011)
  • Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Board Member (2007-2011)
  • Kids Voting Central Ohio Board Member (2007-2011)
  • Franklin County Criminal Justice Planning Board (2002-2007)
  • West Edge Business Center Board Member ex officio (2000-2007)
  • Epilepsy Foundation Board Member (2002-2005)
  • Material Assistance Providers Board Member (2002-2006)
  • Columbus Police Sub-relief Fund Board Member (1999-2007)
  • Franklin County Democratic Party, Executive Committee Member (2000-2011)