Robert L. Burns, Jr. is a member of the firm's Energy Section and focuses his practice on environmental law and its intersections with development, construction, commercial transactions, litigation, manufacturing, waste and natural resources issues, including coal, natural gas and other energy areas, including the environmental and developing regulatory framework affecting Marcellus Shale development and operations.
Robert counsels clients regarding the acquisition and financing of natural resource properties including coal, oil and natural gas. Robert also counsels clients with regard to the purchase, sale and remediation of brownfields and other environmentally-impacted and environmentally sensitive properties. He also provides counsel regarding construction and architectural contracts and concerning the purchase and development of "green" buildings. Robert has been certified as an accredited professional under the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standard issued by the U.S. Green Building Council. Robert has frequently lectured regarding the environmental and regulatory issues associated with Marcellus Shale development and operations.
Robert has recently represented:
- A natural gas company regarding an alleged release of produced water associated with Marcellus Shale development.
- A natural gas company regarding alleged regulatory violations associated with casing of Marcellus Shale wells.
- An industrial company regarding acquisition of a mining company with operations in Kentucky and Tennessee.
- An industrial company regarding alleged NPDES permit violations in West Virginia.
- A waste management company regarding development of mobile water processing operations for Marcellus Shale development in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
- A financial institution regarding architectural and construction contracts for the design and construction of a new LEED Platinum office tower in Pittsburgh.
- A midstream natural gas company regarding a permit appeal in which petitioners asserted that air source aggregation principles should be applied.
- A wind energy company regarding its wind farm leases in Pennsylvania coal county.
- A coal mining company regarding its mineral leasing program in Pennsylvania.
- A Pittsburgh nonprofit regarding the acquisition, development, financing and construction of a retail and grocery development.
- A midstream natural gas company regarding permitting and land use issues associated with the construction of new pipelines and related compressor stations to serve Marcellus Shale wells.
- An industrial company regarding environmental issues associated with the acquisition of 11 industrial facilities through the United States.
- An industrial company regarding construction issues associated with the development of a water treatment plant to serve the oil and gas industry.
- Mining companies and a natural gas company in a mineral transaction that straightened and simplified a 50-mile boundary between two separately-owned coal reserves in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
- A natural resources company regarding the acquisition of a longwall coal mine in Montana.
- An anthracite coal producer in merger and financing negotiations.
- An industrial company regarding environmental issues and permits associated with the acquisition of an industrial facility in Virginia.
- A Pittsburgh non-profit regarding the acquisition, development, financing and construction of an arts and cultural center.
- An automobile parts manufacturer regarding environmental issues and permits associated with the acquisition of industrial facilities in Indiana and Ohio.
- A REIT regarding environmental issues involved with its purchase of portfolios of multiple properties.
- A developer with regard to construction contracts for significant redevelopment projects in two airport terminals.
- A lender regarding secured credit facilities made to coal mine owners and operators in several states. The purchaser of a Gold LEED certified commercial building constructed on brownfield property.
- The purchaser of golf and ski resort in New York with regard to environmental permitting and regulatory aspects of transaction.
- A western Pennsylvania college regarding construction of new campus buildings.
- A Pennsylvania university regarding architectural contract for development of "green" academic building planned for Silver LEED certification.
- A major municipal sewer authority in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania in negotiations with state and local regulators and numerous neighboring municipalities regarding compliance with Clean Water Act mandates concerning sanitary sewer overflows and combined sewer overflows and the development of a sewer assessment program.
- A petroleum refiner in a potential class action regarding allegations of groundwater contamination from its facility and neighboring facilities.
- A maintenance contractor in negotiations with plant owner, the United States Department of Justice and USEPA regarding Clean Air Act violations.
He has consecutively been named to the Pittsburgh Business Times' "Who's Who in Energy" list, a compilation of southwestern Pennsylvania-based key players in the energy industry. Before joining Buchanan, Robert was an associate in another Pittsburgh firm, where he provided environmental counseling, litigation and regulatory and compliance services regarding manufacturing, commercial transactions, financing, bankruptcy, real estate development, historic contamination, landfills, sewers and waste disposal issues. Prior to that, Robert was an associate in two West Virginia-based firms, where he provided environmental counseling, litigation and regulatory services regarding mineral transactions, coal, oil and gas issues, water and air quality, underground storage tanks, electricity deregulation, regulatory stakeholder meetings and disposal of solid waste. While in private practice, he also served as special counsel to the West Virginia Attorney General and the West Virginia Division of Environmental Protection from 1997-1998. After graduating from law school, Robert served as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Charles H. Haden, II, former chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.
Marshall University, M.S., 2000, Environmental Engineering
West Virginia University, J.D., 1994, Law Review, Order of the Coif
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, B.S., 1991, Aerospace Engineering
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, B.A., 1991, English
- West Virginia
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia
- U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
Allegheny County Bar Association
Pennsylvania Bar Association
The West Virginia State Bar
American Bar Association
Engineers' Society of Western Pennsylvania
Air and Waste Management Association
Energy & Mineral Law Foundation
Environmental Law Institute
American Institute of Architects
Board Member, Building Committee Chair and Architectural Committee Member, Pittsburgh Botanic Garden