Willard R. Burns is the owner and managing partner of Burns Law Firm, LLC.Mr. Burns' practice focuses on environmental and energy matters.
Mr. Burns has litigated throughout the United States and in Puerto Rico, and has advised clients on energy, construction and environmental matters for more than twenty eight (28) years. For the last thirteen years, Mr. Burns has focused exclusively on environmental and energy issues. In particular, he has been working with leading experts on electric utility ratemaking cases, transmission planning studies, and modeling the effects of generation changes and transmission upgrades.
Significant matters he has handled include representing:
Pace Energy and Climate Center in NY Public Utility electric ratemaking proceedings advocating for low electric rates, innovative rate designs, cleaner electric generation, more energy efficiency and demand response, and renewable generation.
Transmission planning studies in NY, Washington state, Illinois, TVA, MISO, PJM, and other locations to evaluate potential electric generation and hydro plant retirements, and potential impacts on reliability, resource adequacy, and electricity costs.
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) at FERC and at Public Utility proceedings advocating for cleaner electric generation, more energy efficiency and demand response, and more renewable generation.
NGOs in connection with EPA’s proposed Clean Air Act 111(d) regulations that would have significantly reduced electric generation emissions, including analyses of the costs and benefits of the regulations and how to minimize reliability impacts.
27 NGOs in the Eastern Interconnection Planning Collaborative (EIPC). The EIPC was created by the transmission planning authorities in the Eastern Interconnection (which includes 39 states and much of Canada), and funded by the Department of Energy, to conduct detailed modeling of potential resource scenarios and transmission needs for the next 20 years. See www.eipconline.com. Mr. Burns attended all of the steering committee meetings and was an alternate steering committee member. He was one of the NGO’s official members on two different working groups, and the only NGO representative on a task force charged with evaluating and recommending the final three transmission build-outs. Mr. Burns also oversaw and managed the work of the transmission planning and economic modeling experts the NGOs hired.
a large national environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) in administrative proceedings in Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland involving a proposed 765 kV transmission line (the PATH line).
NGOs concerned with global climate change, energy efficiency, demand side management, and moving towards a clean electrical generation future - one that promotes renewable generation and decreases or eliminates harmful emissions. Mr. Burns has worked with transmission planning engineers, modeling experts, and air pollution experts on these matters throughout the Eastern Interconnection.
intervenors in an administrative proceeding at the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court involving a proposed 300 mile-long 500,000 volt transmission line(TrAIL line). Mr. Burns also worked with intervenors and experts in related proceedings at the Virginia State Corporation Commission and the West Virginia Public Service Commission.
protestants in a proceeding at the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and Commonwealth Court involving a proposed 500 kV transmission line in eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey (Susquehanna to Roseland line).
a co-gen facility in a rate dispute at the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
an engineering firm in a claim arising out of alleged improper design of a closure plan for two RCRA surface impoundments (United States District Court of the Northern District of Oklahoma).
the manufacturer of locomotives in a class action lawsuit for personal injuries and diminution of real estate due to alleged exposure to PCBs. The Paoli decisions are landmark cases regarding the use of experts at trial; the decisions have been repeatedly cited regarding standards for admissibility of expert testimony.
an engineering/procurement/construction contractor in an action arising out of a design-build contract for a wastewater treatment plant at an oil refinery in California. The amount at issue in the claims, counterclaims and third-party claims totaled approximately $30 million. (Superior Court of the County of Los Angeles, California).
an engineering and construction contractor in an action arising out of a contract for the design and construction of a wastewater treatment plant at a pharmaceutical facility; the amount in controversy is in excess of $20 million (West Virginia).
a record company in a CERCLA claim alleging disposal of hazardous substances at a landfill. Mr. Burns and a former partner prepared the successful summary judgment motion which resulted in a reported decision that has been heavily cited.
an alleged generator of hazardous substances in a CERCLA contribution claim that went to trial in federal court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The case resulted in a number of reported decisions.
a design/build contractor in claims arising out of the design and installation of a sequencing batch reactor system at a wastewater treatment plant at a dairy facility in Puerto Rico (Court of First Instance, San Juan Superior Court, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico).
Bar and Court Admissions
Mr. Burns is admitted to practice in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He is also admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, the U.S. District Courts for the Western District of Pennsylvania, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and the District of New Jersey. He has been involved in cases in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Montana, Virginia, West Virginia, Louisiana, Texas, New York, Alabama, Oklahoma, Florida, California and Puerto Rico.
B.A. 1985 Hamilton College J.D. 1990, cum laude, Rutgers University School of Law; associate editor, Rutgers Law Journal; Dean’s List (1987-1990).