Steven Burns Headshot

Steven A. Burns

  • (205) 226-8736
Download Resume
  • Georgetown University Law Center
    J.D., 1995
  • Rhodes College
    B.A., 1990, cum laude
Bar Admissions
  • Alabama, 2004
  • District of Columbia, 1998
  • Virginia, 1995
About Steven
Steven is the lead contributor of @CCR_Source, a resource for coal combustion residuals and coal ash news.
  • What types of matters do you work on most often?

    Right now, coal ash is the big one, with efforts to get ready for the new Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) and Clean Water Act (CWA) requirements. Every plant is unique when it comes to CCR and wastewater management. The design, engineering, and construction involved are massive. Add to that very little regulatory guidance and a threat of citizen suit litigation. It can be daunting.

    Federal agencies are driving a growing concern about chemicals and fuels. The West Texas fertilizer explosion has had continuing fallout, with a number of federal programs changing and expanding. That is resulting in new proposed regulations and enforcement actions.

    Waterway issues are another constant. We have a waterway infrastructure that is severely underfunded and under attack from citizen groups.

  • What do you see on the horizon in your area of practice?
  • What previous experiences, prior to your work at Balch, influence your practice?
  • What do you find most exciting about your work?

Select Matters

  • Coal ash: Advise electric utilities on the disposal and recycling of coal ash, flue gas desulfurization (FGD) waste or gypsum, and other CCR, including potential issues under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), CWA, groundwater requirements, and dust issues.
  • Waste, spill response, and contamination: Advise clients under federal and state waste management programs, including contamination and spill and incident responses.
  • Chemical management: Advise clients as to chemical management programs, including the Risk Management Plan (RMP) rule, the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) program and related Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) issues, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), and the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program of DHS.
  • Government inspections and information requests: Manage regulatory inspections and government information requests under Clean Air Act (CAA) Section 114, CERLCA Section 104(e), the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and related authorities.
  • Waterways: Advise waterway associations and users on waterway issues, including water resource project funding, Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) legislation, water supply, and Corps of Engineers regulatory programs such as Section 10, Section 404, and Section 408.
    • Waterway associations: Regularly provide counsel on regulatory, legislative and legal issues to Warrior-Tombigbee Waterway Association and other Alabama waterway associations.
    • Officer (Counsel and Secretary) for the National Waterways Conference.
    • Expert in Corps of Engineers authorities for operations, regulations, and funding mechanisms, including annual appropriations and public-private partnership structures and opportunities.
  • Homeland security: Advise business clients on preparedness and resilience issues, including business continuity planning and risk protections under the SAFETY Act.
  • Due diligence for mergers and acquisitions: Perform environmental due diligence and review in support of purchase and sale of electric generating units and manufacturing facilities and for corporate mergers and acquisitions.



      Speaking Engagements


        • Georgetown University Law Center, J.D., 1995
        • Rhodes College, B.A., 1990, cum laude
        Bar Admissions
        • Alabama, 2004
        • District of Columbia, 1998
        • Virginia, 1995
        Professional Affiliations
        • National Waterways Conference (NWC), Counsel and Secretary
        • NWC Legislative Policy Committee, Chair
        • Air and Waste Management Association (A&WMA), Alabama Chapter, twice served as Chapter Chair
        Awards & Accolades
        • The Best Lawyers in America, Environmental Law, 2016-present
        Community Involvement
        • Kiwanis Club of Birmingham