Bar & Court Admissions

  • Pennsylvania
  • New Jersey
  • Hawaii
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii


University of Texas School of Law, J.D., with honors, 1993

University of London and the Institute for Advanced Legal Studies (London, UK), international law coursework, 1992

Boston College, B.A., summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 1990 

LEED® Accredited Professional (LEED AP BD+C)

"LEED Accredited Professional" and related acronym, and the LEED AP logo are trademarks owned by the U.S. Green Building Council and awarded to individuals under license by the Green Business Certification Inc.

Water Resources Association of the Delaware River Basin

  • Board of Directors

Hawaii State Bar Association (HSBA) Environment, Energy & Resources Section

  • Former Chair and Board Member 

ThinkTech Hawaii

  • Board of Directors, 2018-2024

USGBC - Hawaii Chapter

Hawaii Women Lawyers

Women in Renewable Energy

Partnership for the Delaware Estuary

  • Board of Directors, 2015-2016

Delaware Valley Green Building Council (DVGBC)

  • Board of Directors, 2011-2015
  • Greenbuild 2013 Host Committee

Sustainability Directors' Roundtable

  • Founder & Director, 2009-2016

Previous Board Service:

  • Radnor Township Environmental Advisory Council
  • Society of Women Environmental Professionals of Greater Philadelphia (SWEP)
  • Philadelphia Bar Association Environmental Law Committee
  • American Bar Association, Section on Environment, Energy, and Resources
  • Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, Philadelphia
Professional Highlights
News & Events

Brenda H. Gotanda is a partner with Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox LLP and leads the firm’s sustainability practice. Brenda has over 25 years of experience representing and counseling clients on environmental and energy matters, including in regulatory compliance, permitting, enforcement actions, transactions, site remediation, and project development. She provides strategic guidance to assist clients in achieving goals and managing risk. She has handled complex issues related to the regulation of water, waste, air, and chemical substances for a broad range of clients, including in the manufacturing, energy, real estate, industrial development, telecommunications, transportation, waste management and retail sectors. Her practice includes significant matters involving wastewater and stormwater NPDES permitting and enforcement, TMDL development and implementation, hazardous and non-hazardous waste handling, treatment and disposal, real estate transactions and due diligence, Superfund, spill prevention and emergency response, redevelopment of brownfields and former defense sites, and occupational safety and health. In addition, she has assisted clients on an array of sustainability-related matters, including greenhouse gas emissions evaluation and lifecycle analysis, renewable energy, battery energy storage, energy efficiency, renewable fuels, green building, and green marketing claims. 

Brenda has been included in The Best Lawyers® in America listing for environmental law since 2009 and in the Pennsylvania Super Lawyers listing for environmental law since 2010.*

Brenda serves on the Board of Directors of the Water Resources Association of the Delaware River Basin. She is also a member and former Chair of the Environmental, Energy & Resources Section of the Hawaii State Bar Association. She previously served on the Board of Directors of ThinkTech Hawaii, Inc. Brenda is a LEED Accredited Professional® (BD+C) and served on the Board of the Delaware Valley Green Building Council. Brenda founded and led the MGKF Sustainability Directors’ Roundtable and is a co-founder and Director Emeritus of the Society of Women Environmental Professionals of Greater Philadelphia. She has served as Co-Chair of the Environmental Law Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association, as Chair of the Radnor Township Environmental Advisory Council, on the Board of Directors for the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, on the Greenbuild 2013 Host Committee, and on the Board of Directors of Shofuso Japanese House and Garden in Philadelphia.

Away from work, Brenda enjoys spending time with family and friends, swimming, hiking, visiting national parks, and exploring the beauty of Hawaii.

*See Professional Highlights Tab for listing and rating information.

Representative examples of Brenda’s work include the following:

  • Complex transactions for the purchase and sale of businesses and real estate, including contract negotiation, due diligence, permit transfers, securing pre-acquisition environmental liability protections, negotiating environmental insurance policy terms, and preparing institutional controls and environmental covenants;
  • Development and implementation of cleanup compliance strategies for industrial clients at operating facilities and at waste disposal sites to address historic contamination under state and federal cleanup authorities, including the Pennsylvania Land Recycling and Environmental Remediation Standards Act ("Act 2"), New Jersey Spill Compensation and Control Act ("Spill Act") and Industrial Site Recovery Act ("ISRA"), and the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act ("CERCLA") and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act ("RCRA");
  • Water and wastewater regulation, compliance, permitting, and enforcement defense including National Pollution Discharge Elimination System ("NPDES") discharges, wastewater pre-treatment, water allocation, Total Maximum Daily Load (“TMDL”) development and implementation, wetlands, stormwater, waterfront development, and soil erosion and sediment control
  • Solid and hazardous waste regulation compliance, permitting, and enforcement defense;
  • Green building legal agreements and LEED® certification;
  • Counseling product manufacturers on "green" product claims and FTC Green Guides compliance;
  • Drafting and negotiating renewable energy power purchase agreements and project contracts for transportation energy capture, storage, and reuse;
  • Counseling and representation regarding greenhouse gas emissions calculation and lifecycle analysis programs;
  • Emergency spill response, including compliance and reporting obligations, and development of spill prevention and response plans (e.g., SPCC, SPRP, DPCC, EAP, ICP, etc);
  • Cross-cutting regulation of specific substances such as asbestos, polychlorinated biphenyls ("PCBs"), and lead;
  • Site remediation under federal and state cleanup programs, including securing remedial action consent decrees with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA"), settling federal CERCLA and RCRA liability at EPA Superfund sites, negotiating administrative settlements for EPA removal actions, and securing liability protections through state voluntary cleanup programs such as Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection ("PADEP") Buyer-Seller Agreements and Act 2 demonstrations of attainment;
  • Defense and settlement of enforcement actions by federal, state, and local agencies, including response to orders, information requests, penalty assessments, and cost recovery claims;
  • Development of environmental, health, and safety regulatory compliance programs and  regulatory compliance auditing;
  • Defense of Occupational Safety and Health Administration ("OSHA") enforcement actions;
  • Negotiation of innovative agreement under EPA’s Project XL to enable specialty chemical company to achieve better and more cost-effective environmental results under an alternative regulatory program; and
  • Toxic Substances Control Act ("TSCA") pre-manufacture notification issues and new chemical registration requirements in the United States and foreign markets, including the European Union, Canada and Asia.

Brenda has organized educational programs and been a frequent speaker on various environmental, energy, health, and safety topics, including green building, corporate sustainability, green  claims, energy efficiency and benchmarking, water permitting and regulation, wetlands, impaired waters and TMDL development, OSHA compliance, asbestos and lead paint regulation, agency inspections and enforcement, brownfields redevelopment and site remediation, due diligence in corporate and real estate transactions, and waste management. She has published numerous articles in law journals, trade journals, and newspapers and was a contributing author to the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry OSHA Handbook and to the Matthew Bender treatise The Law of Hazardous Waste: Management, Cleanup, Liability and Litigation.

Honors & Awards

Special Alerts

Press Releases

Seminars & Speaking Engagements

Program Planner, "PFAS Risk Management: Insights into the Evolving Regulatory Landscape," a hybrid program presented by the Water Resources Association of the Delaware River Basin, Bala Cynwyd, PA, October 19, 2023

Moderator, “Navigating Ethics in the Evolving World of ESG” presented at the Hawaii State Bar Association Annual Meeting and Bar Convention (virtual), October 14, 2022

"Pennsylvania Water Laws and Regulations: Current Issues with the Clean Water Act," a HalfMoon Education webinar, April 27, 2022

Moderator, “Circular Economy: A Straight Line to Sustainability” presented at the Hawaii State Bar Association Annual Meeting and Bar Convention (virtual), October 15, 2021

"Indirect Discharges and Clean Water Act Permits – The Supreme Court’s New Functional Equivalent Standard” presented at the Hawaii State Bar Association Annual Meeting and Bar Convention (virtual), October 16, 2020

Moderator, “Workplace Health & Safety in a Pandemic: Lessons Learned from Covid-19” presented at the Hawaii State Bar Association Annual Meeting and Bar Convention (virtual), October 16, 2020

"Making Waves: The Ripple Effects of the Supreme Court’s New 'Functional Equivalent' Test on Clean Water Act NPDES Discharge Permitting" a webinar presented on behalf of West LegalEdCenter/Thomson Reuters, August 10, 2020

Moderator, “Putting a Price on Nature – The Use of Ecological Economics in Regulatory Regimes” presented at the Hawaii State Bar Association Annual Meeting and Bar Convention, Honolulu, HI, October 11, 2019

Moderator, “At the Crossroads of Real Estate and the Environment – How Green Building is Charting a Course for Hawaii’s Future” presented at Hawaii State Bar Association Annual Meeting and Bar Convention, Honolulu, HI, November 2, 2018

"Managing Environmental Risks to Get the Deal Done" presented at the Temple Real Estate Institute, April 14 and May 26, 2016

“Green Leases for the Next Generation of Sustainable Buildings” presented at the Delaware Valley Green Building Council’s Tri-State Sustainability Symposium, Philadelphia, PA, March 6, 2016

"LEED® for Lawyers: A Green Building Update and Tour" presented at the offices of MGKF for the Greater Philadelphia Delaware Valley of the Association of Corporate Counsel, November 17, 2015

"Panel Discussion on Sustainable Solutions" presented at Villanova University's 45th Annual Earth Day Celebration, Villanova, PA, April 23, 2015

“By the Numbers: Energy Star, LEED, and Other Means to Measure Green Success” presented at the Tri-State Sustainability Symposium at Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, March 6, 2015

"Building the Foundation for Sustainable Practices," presented at the City Avenue Special Services District Lunch and Learn in Bala Cynwyd, PA, April 24, 2014

"Environmental Issues Update for Commercial and Industrial Real Estate Deals" presented at the Temple University Real Estate Institute in Philadelphia, PA, April 4, 2014

Moderator, "Urban Stormwater Management: Philly, Camden and Beyond" panel presentation at the Tri-State Sustainability Symposium 2014 in Philadelphia, PA, March 7, 2014

"Energy Efficiency, Green Building and Sustainability" (course planner and moderator) presented for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute in Philadelphia, PA, November 27, 2012

"Sustainability Legal Issues & Risk Management Strategies for Existing Buildings," presented at the Building Owners & Managers Association (BOMA) in Philadelphia, PA, May 1, 2012

"Greening Your Real Estate Deals: Opportunities and Risks in Sustainable Development" presented at the Temple University Real Estate Institute in Philadelphia, PA, April 16 and May 10, 2012

"Codes and Mandates - Is There a Connection to Energy Star and LEED?" panel presentation at the PA/NJ Sustainability Symposium 2012 in Philadelphia, PA, March 29, 2012

"Electric Cars and Their Infrastructure: How's This All Going to Work?," (course planner and moderator) presented as part of the Sustainability Series in Radnor, PA, January 26, 2012

"Making Sense of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy," presented at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute's Real Estate Institute in Philadelphia, PA, December 7, 2011

"Water Quality, Wetlands, and Stormwater Regulatory Update," presented at the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business & Industry 2011 Fall Environmental Conference Series in Valley Forge, PA, October 26, 2011

Greenbuild 2011 Knowledge Bar (subject matter expert) at the U.S. Green Building Council's Greenbuild 2011 in Toronto, Canada, October 6, 2011

"Energy Efficiency Benchmarking," presented at the Urban Land Institute in Philadelphia, PA, May 13, 2011

"Environmental Issues That Can Impact Any Business - What Every In-House Counsel Should Know", presented at the Delaware Valley Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel's (DELVACCA) In-House Counsel Conference, Philadelphia, PA, April 7, 2011

"Legal Aspects of Green Building:  Standards, Codes & Beyond," presented at the Pennsylvania Association of Code Officials in Conshohocken, PA, March 17, 2011

"Green Building & Sustainability:  Managing the New Risks," presented at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute's 14th Annual Real Estate Institute in Philadelphia, PA, December 2, 2010

Media Coverage