Beth Gotthelf, Butzel Long Photo

Beth is an environmental expert with over 30 years of experience. She has extensive environmental renewable energy and sustainability expertise to assist with remediation, redevelopment, permitting, and compliance. Beth is renowned as a problem-solver and best known for bringing creativity and practicality to situations while forming true partnerships with each of her clients. A skilled connector, Beth puts her creative nature and insight into her clients’ businesses to work to bring entities together to solve problems and grow business. She works extensively with automotive, defense and aerospace companies, and developers of affordable housing and other uses. Beth’s clients also benefit from her deep government relations experience at the local, state, and federal levels.


Beth S. Gotthelf is a Shareholder based in Butzel's Troy office. She is the firm's Director of Innovation and External Relations, Co-Chair of the Energy & Sustainability Practice, and Chair of the Aerospace & Defense industry team. Gotthelf brings a pragmatic and holistic approach to clients’ issues, by understanding her clients' goals and assisting them in reaching those goals through a variety of tools. It is not unusual for her to assist in matchmaking clients’ needs, acting as an outside general counsel, or coming up with creative solutions. Her assistance in diversifying automotive suppliers into the aerospace and defense arena during the economic downturn is just one example of her holistic approach. Ms. Gotthelf credits her successful counseling on using her business experience, legal training, and active participation in professional groups and non-profits that gives her many experiences to draw upon. She is chair of the Michigan Manufacturers Association Environmental Policy Committee and National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) Board Directorship Certified.

Ms. Gotthelf started her career in the environmental law arena and remains a leader to this date.  She is chair of the Michigan Manufacturers Association Environmental Policy Committee (2022-present) and general counsel to the Michigan Chapter of the National Association of Surface Finishers (1990-present).  Other roles include creating the first wetland bank in Michigan and Wayne County’s Brownfield Authority. She has been active in a variety of enforcement cases both on behalf of government and industry.  Her counseling includes compliance, emergency response, remediation, PFAS, redevelopment, tax incentives, enforcement, occupational safety and health, and insurance coverage.

For over a decade, Ms. Gotthelf has also been active in the Aerospace and Defense industries, advises clients in the various legal issues including governmental contracting, ITAR, EAR, bids and bid protests, and Foreign Military Sales to name a few. She also works with start-up companies and is the legal executive in residence at the Oakland University INCubator.

Ms. Gotthelf has served as general counsel to the Michigan Chapter of the National Association of Surface Finishers since 1990 and Vice President since 2019; Oakland University Incubator Executive in Residence (Macomb branch prior to it closure) (2013-present); Better Business Bureau Board member (2012-2022); Michigan Israel Business Accelerator Board member (2007-present); International Women’s Forum, Michigan Chapter Board (2020-present), Florida Chapter Board (2021-present); Women in Defense-Michigan Advisory Board (2017-present); former general counsel to the Wayne County Brownfield Authority. She has represented the Wayne County (Michigan) Department of Environment on a broad variety of issues, including the Detroit bankruptcy as it related to the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department; wastewater treatment plant expansion, upgrade, and compliance; wet weather; landfills; remediation; and ordinance amendments.

Gotthelf has been very active in the business between Israel and Michigan including arranging for the highly successful first Israel Ministry of Defense Mission of Defense companies to a state and the first mission of a state (Michigan) to Israel. She has served as a lay-leader on legislative trade missions to Israel to help Michigan legislators learn what has worked to make Israel an economic leader, and apply those “lessons learned.”

Ms. Gotthelf's Bar experience includes Vice-Chair of the American Bar Association ("ABA") Section of Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law, Water Quality and Wetlands; former Vice-Chair of the Section's Keystone Committee; Chair of the State Bar of Michigan Environmental Law Section; and Chair of the Environmental Law Committee of the Oakland County Bar Association. Ms. Gotthelf is a past member of the State Bar Representative Assembly on behalf of Oakland County.

Ms. Gotthelf served on the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce Leadership Committee for Transportation, and is past Chair of the Chamber's Task Force on Water and Sewer Issues. Ms. Gotthelf is Chair of the City of Birmingham (Michigan) Brownfield Authority (2005-2022). On behalf of industry, Ms. Gotthelf served on the Federal Advisory Committee charged with recommending stormwater rules. She served as an arbitrator for the National Arbitration Forum.

Ms. Gotthelf's charitable activities include Trustee of the Jewish Vocational Services (2000-2015, 2016-2021); serving as Co-Chair of the Gleaners Food Bank Women's Power Breakfast fundraiser (2015); Board member and eventually President of the Board of Trustees for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Michigan Chapter (1996-2008); Board member and eventually Chair of the Board of Trustees of Oakland Plus Foundation (2005-2011);  member of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, State Government Relations Oversight Committee (2004-2018).

Speaking Engagements

Speaker, "New Proposed ASTM Phase I ESA Standard and What it Means from a Practical Standpoint," Michigan Association of Environmental Professionals (MAEP), June 2022

Panelist, 11th Annual American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG) Michigan Section’s Environmental Risk Management Workshop – Best Practices for Groundwater Remediation and Management, June 2022

Speaker, “The Impact of Local and Global Climate Change,” International Women's Forum (IWF), May 2022

Panelist, "COVID-19 CARES ACT Supporting Federal Contractors: A Guide for the Small Business Industrial Base," April 2020

Speaker, "Automotive Industry Outlook and Workforce Issues as the Coronavirus Impact Escalates," Webinar, March 2020

Speaker, Cyber Compliance in A&D Breakfast Roundtable, February 2020

Moderator, "Launching into the Future. Is Space the Next Frontier for Surface Finishers?" MINASF, 2019

Speaker, PFAS Update and Compliance Agreements Conference, MINASF, 2019

Speaker, Automotive Update Conference, MINASF, 2019

Moderator, Speaker, PFAS and Legislative Updates, MINASF Conference 2018

Butzel Long / MEDC Lunch and Learn, 2017

Michigan Association of Metal Finishers (MAMF) Luncheon, 2017

GDI Contractors Luncheon, 2015

International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) Primer Updates, 2015

Coffee and Contracting: Protect Yourself and Still Win Business, 2015


Preparing For SBA's Vet-Owned Biz Certification Overhaul; Legal360, 2022



Oakland University 1980, B.S. Public Administration and Public Policy

University of Detroit Mercy School of Law 1985, J.D.



  • Macomb-Oakland University INCubator Advisory Council
  • American Bar Association (ABA) - Vice Chair, Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources Water Quality and Wetlands Committee
  • Delta Theta Phi Law Fraternity, International Honorary Society
  • Former Vice-Chair, ABA Section Teleconference Seminars
  • Former Vice-Chair, 2010 Eastern Water Resources Conference
  • Former Vice-Chair, Annual Keystone Environmental Conference
  • State Bar of Michigan - past Chair, Environmental Law Section past Section Council-person and Chair of Program Committee Superfund, Solid and Hazardous Waste and Insurance
  • State Bar of Michigan - past member Representative Assembly on behalf of Oakland County
  • Oakland County Bar Association
  • Jewish Vocational Services - Board of Trustees
  • Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce - Translink Advisory Committee past Chair, Task Force on Water and Sewer Issues
  • Great Lakes Guardians - former Chair, Board of Trustees
  • Michigan Israel Business Accelerator - Board of Directors, past President
  • Diplomat Helping Hands Foundation - Director
  • Federal Advisory Committee Member - rulemaking Phase 2 stormwater rules

Awards & Recognitions

Awards & Recognitions

Honorary Doctorate of Humanities, Oakland University, 2019

Michigan Lawyers Weekly - "Leader in the Law," 2019

Michigan Lawyers Weekly - recognized as one of 20 Women in Law, 2010

The Best Lawyers in America - "Lawyer of the Year," Litigation - Environmental, 2023

The Best Lawyers in America, Environmental Law, 2013-2023, Litigation-Environmental, 2020-2023

DBusiness Top Lawyers in Metro Detroit, Environmental Law, 2011-2023; Energy Law, 2011, 2012, 2016, 2018, 2020-2023; Government Relations Law, 2011 & 2012

Michigan Super Lawyers, Environmental, 2006-2020

Top 50 Female Michigan Super Lawyers, 2006-2009 & 2014-2018

2009 Oakland University Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award

Litigation Counsel of America - former Fellow

Michigan State Bar Foundation - Fellow

Oakland County Bar Foundation - Fellow

Top 100 Michigan Super Lawyers (2006-2009)

Detroit Regional Chamber - recognition as an emerging leader (2003)

National Association of Metal Finishers (2002) - special recognition

Corp! Magazine - one of "Michigan's 95 Most Powerful Women" (2002)

Corp! Magazine - "Top 10 Business Attorneys for Southeast Michigan" (1999)

Crain's Detroit Business' 40 emerging leaders under age 40 ("40 Under 40") (1994)


  • Defended against several claims of injury related to alleged mold exposure.
  • Represented manufacturing company in lawsuit against insurance company for coverage after environmental emergency
  • Represented numerous clients in obtaining, modifying and or transferring air permits.
  • Various enforcement actions against industrial wastewater dischargers
  • Defended several class action law suits against waste treatment & disposal clients alleging harm due to odors and other impact from respected facilities.
  • Assist in purchasing hundreds of thousands of dollars of tax credits in numerous transactions
  • Reviewed various environmental due diligence and terms in sales agreements on behalf of bank and its borrowers.
  • Successfully represented industry group in negations to amend an ordinance regulating industrial discharges into one of the largest wastewater treatment plants in the country.
  • Settled a suit against a manufacturer and designer of the pumps at the Wyandotte wastewater treatment plant, resulting in a program to repair the mammoth pumps and monetary damage
  • Represent company in the sale of highly contaminated gas station, conversion to drugstore while remediating contamination.
  • Assisting with PUD approval, condo documents, along with wetland, shoreland and sewer water permits for a 450-acre lakefront residential development
  • Assisted client in purchasing, tax incentives and permits of alternative fuel, R&D facility
  • Successfully represented client in dispute with DEQ over wetland delineation for 50 acre development.
  • Worked with client to obtain $1 million Single Business Tax Credit, approval of brownfield plan and negotiation of brownfield agreement with city
  • Creation of a 13-community management authority for a regional wastewater plant
  • Represented energy company in development, land purchase, equipment purchase and tax incentives for wood pellet manufacturing
  • Represented several manufacturing home park clients in obtaining ground water discharge permits.
  • Assisted numerous clients with international transactions involving environmental due diligence and permitting throughout South America, Asia and Europe.
  • Represented a private equity investor in the lengthy and complicated effort to purchase all of Ford Motor Company's glass manufacturing operations in North America
  • Convinced MDEQ to reverse its policy not to process permit applications for wastewater discharges from treatment plants until proper zoning is in place
  • Representation of a county in a variety of issues from construction of a $300 million upgrade and expansion of its wastewater treatment plant to compliance of its wastewater discharge limits
  • Represented owner of land next to landfill due to methane gas migrating onsite
  • Obtained a judgment of approximately $24 million for DWSD and its rate payers
  • Obtained court order to allow access for remediation.
  • Worked with client to obtain $1 million Single Business Tax Credit.
  • Assisted clients in obtaining permits and defending action in alleged disturbance of an endangered species (eagles).
  • Defended against suit filed by MDEQ for alleged contamination of soils and groundwater
  • Construction of a combined sewer overflow basin at a former dump site.
  • Represent developer in the obtaining of a wastewater discharge permit from a manufactured home park, including fighting the State's decision not to issue a permit through a contested case proceeding
  • Financial lending for development of Bloomfield Park
  • Defend client in CERCLA cost recovery claim.
  • Represent manufacturer in stock purchase of contaminated property
  • Represent Client in lawsuit against travel agent for refund of the cost of trip.
  • Represented manufacturing company in class action suit for damages as a result of evacuation
  • Advised client concerning purchase, tax incentives and the remediation of a contaminated site to redevelop into residential units
  • Assisting with the construction, financing & permitting of ethanol plants in two locations in a northern area of Michigan
  • Ongoing representation for numerous casino clients in a variety of OSHA issues
  • Created Brownfield Authority for large metropolitan county and local municipalities,
  • Represented major manufacturer in negotiating complex remedial action plan.
  • Represent client after it was "raided" by US EPA
  • Successfully prosecuted several contested case proceedings related to wetland permit denials.
  • Conducted environmental due diligence and organized a transfer of environmental permits for the purchase of a portable energy production facility
  • Represented a County against the City of Detroit and Detroit Water and Sewerage Dept. to terminate special powers the Court gave to the Mayor of Detroit
  • Defend various companies against alleged wastewater discharge violations
  • Represented a healthcare client with the environmental aspects of the sale of the company
  • Ongoing representation of numerous solid waste and recycling companies on a variety of landfill compliance & permitting issues.
  • Assisted Developer in obtaining a unique 2007 Wetland Permit that allowed the construction of a wetland shelf for sediments and dredging
  • Representation of manufacturer in remediation using soil mixing
  • Represented manufacturing company with respect to multimedia inspection by state and US EPA
  • Review and analyze environmental due diligence reports, and purchase agreements on behalf of buyers, sellers, and lenders, and advise as to potential environmental liability and available protections.
  • Representing companies in alleged criminal environmental conduct
  • Supervised environmental due diligence and remedial activities related to major multi-parcel development in major metropolitan downtown area.
  • Representation of companies undergoing a multimedia environmental investigation by local, state and federal authorities, with criminal undertones
  • Environmental representation for a metal finishing company in connection with a release of hazardous chemicals that caused the evacuation of over 3,000 people and a flood of class action lawsuits
  • Defend Client in multiple class action and multi-party lawsuits that were filed in reaction to hydrochloric acid release at Client's property; pursue insurance coverage related to same.
  • Investigation of remedial contamination and negotiation of non-liability status with state
  • Assisted manufacturing company in reopening after major fire
  • Assisted in addressing regional transportation issues for client's possible move to downtown Detroit
  • Various enforcement actions pursuant to Wayne County's air regulations against companies such as local steel and automotive corporations
  • Create the first wetland bank in Michigan.
  • Chaired Brownfield Authority for large suburban community
  • Reached a settlement for a nuisance value for MDEQ claims against client
  • Negotiated an administrative order for a landfill client with the DNRE resulting from alleged violations of the laws and regulations regarding the operation and maintenance of solid waste landfills
  • Represented credit union in sale of contaminated property and cost recovery against Texaco
  • Represented the County in the transfer of sewer capacity to the communities of Novi, Northville & Plymouth
  • Working with a developer to obtain DEQ permit to fill wetlands and negotiating an agreement with a nearby conservancy
  • Numerous remediation projects of abandoned dumps.
  • Assist with the purchasing, contracting, bonding, construction and permitting of two ethanol plants
  • Represent solar and windmill energy company for tax incentives, pilot projects and sale for residential use
  • Advised bond insurer for Michigan higher education facilities authority on various aspects of bond and environmental issues
  • Representation of solid waste and recycling company included a variety of landfill compliance and contamination issues of multiple landfills and transfer stations
  • Prosecuted several cost recovery actions on behalf of clients seeking to recoup remediation costs against responsible parties.

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