Third-Year Law Student Brian Gumz Wins 2018 Grodsky Prize

March 19, 2018

Brian Gumz

From left to right: LeRoy C. Paddock, Associate Dean for Environmental Studies; Professor Robert L. Glicksman; Dean Blake D. Morant; Brian Gumz, 3L; Dr. Gerold Grodsky, Professor Jamie Grodsky's father; and Andrea Huber, Professor Grodsky's sister.

Brian Gumz, Class of 2018, was presented with this year's Jamie Grodsky Prize for Environmental Law Scholarship. The prize, which commemorates the life of Professor Jamie A. Grodsky, recognizes an original paper by a GW Law student in the environmental field as judged by a panel.

Mr. Gumz's article, "Administrative Nonacquiescence and the EPA," discussed the practice of administrative nonacquiescence at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He explained that nonacquiescence occurs when an agency refuses to conform its internal policy to an adverse circuit court ruling. While the EPA has traditionally avoided nonacquiescence, agency actions during the Obama Administration indicate a new willingness to engage in nonacquiescence under major environmental statutes. "My article lends support to the constitutionality and practical necessity of engaging in nonacquiescence," he said. "However, the article also cautions that nonacquiescence actions undermine regulatory uniformity and proposes procedures that the agency could adopt to mitigate the risk of harm to regulated industries."

The topic of Mr. Gumz's article was inspired by a conversation he had with Emily Hammond, Glen Earl Weston Research Professor. He shared that she tipped him off to recent EPA nonacquiescence actions, including a case pending before the D.C. Circuit, and a recent EPA rulemaking regarding nonacquiescence. "I found that there was a dearth of recent academic scholarship regarding nonacquiescence, and felt that the issue could benefit from a current perspective," Mr. Gumz said.

The Grodsky Prize was presented in conjunction with the annual J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Environmental Law Conference on March 15. Robert L. Glicksman, J. B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Professor of Environmental Law, introduced the award and highlighted the continuing scholarly influence of Jamie Grodsky's work. Dean Morant then presented the award to Mr. Gumz. The Grodsky family attended the event.

"I am very grateful to have been selected for the prize," Mr. Gumz said. "By talking to Jamie Grodsky's family and friends, I learned that Jamie was a phenomenal scholar, a gifted teacher, and a friend to everyone she met. I am honored to be a part of her continuing legacy."