Grant L. Ruhl (’17), a student of the University of Tennessee College of Law, was recently named the winner of the 2016 Jon E. Hastings Memorial Award Writing Competition, sponsored by the Tennessee Bar Association’s Environmental Law Section.
Ruhl’s paper, “An Unpopular Victory: Exploring EPA’s 2015 Ozone NAAQS Revisions,” addresses the EPA’s updated Clean Air Act standard for ozone, which reduced the the acceptable National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone from 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 70 ppb.
“This is a massive rule with far-reaching political, economic, and social implications,” argues Ruhl. “The rule also embodies a growing storyline in our national policy debate: liberal, public health, and environmental interests are becoming more and more polarized from their conservative, industry, and fossil fuel counterparts.”
Throughout the paper, Ruhl explores the history leading up to the final rule, provides a description of EPA’s rulemaking process, and establishes a review of the substantive content of the final rule. Additionally, he explains the details regarding the rule’s procedural implementation, provides an overview of reactions to the rule, and finally evaluates the rule’s potential impact on Tennessee based in part on an interview with a state air quality policy official.
The Hastings Writing Competition, created in memory of Jon E. Hastings, one of the TBA’s Environmental Law Section’s founding members, is a juried competition for the best legal writing on a topic of Tennessee or federal environmental law and is open to law students enrolled in a Tennessee law school. Ruhl will receive a $1,200 cash prize for his achievement.