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Nossaman LLP

J.B. Ruhl

Of Counsel

T 512.813.7944
F 512.651.0670
816 Congress Avenue, Suite 970
Austin, TX 78701

Professor J.B. Ruhl focuses his practice on the fields of endangered species, wetlands, environmental impact analysis, and ecosystem management law and policy generally, and has achieved national recognition in these areas.

He is the David Daniels Allen Distinguished Chair in Law at Vanderbilt University Law School, where he teaches courses in environmental law, land use, and property. Prior to entering teaching, he practiced law in Washington, DC and Austin, Texas for 12 years, working on numerous land use and environmental law issues for industry, land development projects, and local governments. In addition to Vanderbilt, where he joined the law faculty in July 2011, Professor Ruhl has taught at Florida State University (1999-2011), Harvard Law School (visiting spring 2008), Vermont Law School (summers 2001 and 2014), George Washington University (visiting 1998-99), Southern Illinois University (1994-1998), University of Texas (summer 1997), and Lewis & Clark (summer 1996).

He has written over 40 scholarly articles in the field, made numerous presentations to academic and professional groups, and is co-author of two law school casebooks, The Practice and Policy of Environmental Law (Foundation Press 3d ed. 2014) and The Law of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Management (Foundation Press 3d ed. 2013). He has served in the past as an Officer of the American Bar Association Section on the Environment, Energy, and Resources, and as the Editor-in-Chief of the Section's quarterly legal journal, Natural Resources & Environment.

Representative Work

  • MoPac South Transportation Corporation.  Represented this transportation entity in connection with all environmental work relating to the southward extension of a major Austin highway. At one point, the environmental group Save Barton Creek Association brought a NEPA segmentation lawsuit against the project. Mr. Ruhl handled the litigation and Nossaman Partner Alan Glen served as consulting counsel. The team obtained a favorable opinion by the 5th Circuit court of Appeals to the effect that the project was not improperly segmented to avoid compliance with NEPA.
  • Williamson County Road and Highway Work.  Since 2000, Mr. Ruhl has assisted as outside environmental counsel to Williamson County, Texas.  This has involved over $500 million in critically needed roads and highway, many of which suffered complex environmental issues, including particularly under the Endangered Species Act.  A number of these projects were jointly pursed with TxDOT.  Examples of Williamson County projects on which Mr. Ruhl worked include:
    • IH 35 Improvements at Inner Space Caverns.  Assisted regarding Endangered Species Act compliance in connection with this critical highway improvement project  The project is currently under construction.
    • Regan Boulevard.  Assisted regarding all phases of environmental review for this multi-phase project involving a major arterial in Williamson County.
    • SH 195 Improvements.  Assisted regarding the complicated Endangered Species Act compliance required for needed improvements to this roadway, which provides critical access to the Fort Hood military reservation.
    • O'Connor Boulevard.  Assisted regarding all environmental reviews for this short but very significant arterial. Work included assisting the client with complicated endangered species issues.
  • Hays County Road and Highway Projects.  For a number of years, Mr. Ruhl has assisted as outside environmental counsel on specific Hays County road and Highway projects.  Following are two examples:
    • SH 1626. Assisted Hays County in obtaining Endangered Species Act approvals for this much-needed highway improvement project.
    • Winters Parkway (aka Wimberley Bypass).  Assisted with obtaining Endangered Species Act approval through Section 7 consultation.
  • SH 45-SE.  Assisted HNTB, the lead civil engineering firm on the project, with all environmental issues surrounding this roadway improvement project. Work included full National Environmental Policy Act compliance review.
  • Camino Colombia Toll Road.  Assisted regarding all environmental review in connection with this project. This toll road was the first private toll road in the State of Texas and is located in Webb County. Species at issue included the endangered ocelot.
  • SH 121.  Assisted the City of Fort Worth on numerous environmental and other issues surrounding this highway project. The project drew criticism on a variety of issues including, environmental, historic, aesthetic and Section 4(f).  Successfully negotiated revisions to the project plan that satisfied all parties involved and avoided litigation.
  • Second Causeway.  Assisted a sub consultant on this project, which is assisting the lead civil engineer with Endangered Species Act compliance and other issues. Primarily working on Endangered Species Act and wetlands issues.
  • SH 211 Extension.  Assisted the public improvement district carrying out this roadway extension in the San Antonio area in connection with permitting and compliance issues.
J.B.  Ruhl
J.B.  Ruhl



Ph.D., Southern Illinois University, 2006

LL.M., George Washington University Law School, 1986

J.D., University of Virginia School of Law, 1982

B.S., University of Virginia, 1979


District of Columbia


Professional Affiliations

American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy and Natural Resources
State Bar of Texas Environmental and Real Estate Sections
American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Law Institute

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