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Oliver A. Houck

Professor of Law
BA, 1960, Harvard University; JD, 1967, Georgetown University

E-mail:  ohouck@tulane.edu
Telephone:  504.865.5946
Office:  Weinmann Hall, Room 255-C


Oliver Houck’s specialties involve environmental, natural resources and criminal law. He is active in legal proceedings involving wildlife, wetland, coastal and pollution issues and publishes regularly on these and related topics.

He has published several books, including Taking Back Eden (on environmental lawsuits abroad), Down on the Batture (on the Lower Mississippi River), The Clean Water Act TMDL Program (pollution control), and most recently Downstream Toward Home (on rivers of North America). He also has written extensively for academic journals and general interest publications.

Houck served as a federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., and as National Wildlife Federation general counsel and vice president before joining the Tulane law faculty in 1981. He has since served on the boards of Defenders of Wildlife, the Environmental Law Institute and the Environmental Defense Fund, an advisory board of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and two committees of the National Science Foundation. He has also founded several public interest organizations in Louisiana and at Tulane Law School and has consulted on the development of environmental law in Cuba and other Latin American countries.

Houck’s classes emphasize relationships between ecology and law, and he regularly takes students on field trips into coastal ecosystems, the Pearl and Atchafalaya swamps and other natural areas. He has received the law school’s Felix Frankfurter Distinguished Teacher Award was named a recipient of the Sumter Marks Award in 2000 and 2002 for his publications. He also has been honored with the New Orleans Press Club Award, the Tulane University Graduate Teaching Award and the 2005 Distinguished Achievement Award from the American Bar Association’s Environmental Section.

He has been recognized as Louisiana’s Conservationist of the Year, Gambit magazine’s New Orleanian of the Year and the New Orleans Young Leadership Council’s Role Model of the Year.

Fall 2016 - Environmental Law: Natural Resources; Energy & Environment LLM Seminar
Spring 2016 - Comparative Environmental Law; Environmental Law: Coastal & Wetlands Seminar

"The Reckoning: Oil and Gas Development in the Louisiana Coastal Zone", TULANE ENVIRONMENTAL LAW JOURNAL, Summer, 2015

"Cooperative Federalism, Nutrients, and the Clean Water Act: Three Cases Revisited", Environmental Law Reporter, May 2014

"Save Ourselves: The Environmental Case That Changed Louisiana", Louisiana Law Review, Winter 2012

From Sacred Places:  The Story of Nikko Taro and the Taj Mahal,”Hawaii Law Review, Summer 2009.

A Case of Sustainable Development:  The River God And The Forest At The End Of The World,” Tulsa Law Review, Spring 2009.

“How’d We Get Divorced?: The Curious Case of NEPA and Planning,” Environmental Law Reporter, July 2009.

Standing on the Wrong Foot: A Case for Equal Protection, 58 SYRACUSE L. REV. 1 (2007)
“Light From the Trees:  The Stories of Minors Oposa and The Russian Forest Cases,” GEORGETOWN INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW REVIEW, Summer 2007.
“Retaking the Exam:  How Environmental Law Failed New Orleans and the Gulf Coast South and How It Might Yet Succeed,” TULANE LAW REVIEW, Spring 2007.
“Hurricane Katrina and Flood Protection:  Lessons Unlearned,” LOYOLA LAW REVIEW, Spring 2007.
“O Canada!:  The Stories of Rafferty, Oldman and the Great Whale”, BOSTON COLLEGE INTERNATIONAL AND COMPARATIVE LAW JOURNAL, Spring 2006.
“Can We Save New Orleans?,” TULANE ENVIRONMENTAL LAW JOURNAL, Spring 2006.
“Things Fall Apart:  A Constitutional Analysis of Legislative Exclusion,” EMORY LAW REVIEW, Winter 2005.
“More Unfinished Stories:  Lucas, Atlanta Coalition and Palila/Sweet Home,” COLORADO LAW REVIEW, Spring 2004.
“On the Limits of Charity:  Lobbying, Litigation and Electoral Politics Under the Internal Revenue Code and Related Laws,” BROOKLYN LAW REVIEW, Fall 2003.
“Tres Reflexiones Sobre el Derecho Ambiental en Estados Unidos: Hermanos en Armas; El Motor del Derecho Ambiental; La Desconstitutionalizacion del Derecho Ambiental,” ANDALUCIA REVIEW OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION, Spring 2003.
“Tales From A Troubled Marriage:  Science and Law in Environmental Policy,” SCIENCE, December 2003; sourced edition, 17 TULANE ENVIRONMENTAL LAW JOURNAL, Winter 2003; reprinted in Kennedy STATE OF THE PLANET, 2006-2007.

"Unfinished Stories," COLORADO LAW REVIEW, Spring 2002.
"TMDLs V:  Aftershock and Prelude," ENVIRONMENTAL LAW REPORTER, April 2002.
The Clean Water Act TMDL Program V; Aftershock and Prelude, 32 ENVTL. L. REP. 10385 (2002)
Environmental Law in Cuba, 16 J. LAND USE & ENVTL L. 1 (2000)
TMDLs IV: The Final Frontier, 29 ENVTL L. REP. 10469 (1999)
Are Humans Part of Ecosystems?, 28 ENVTL L. 1 (1998)
Environmental Law and the General Welfare, 16 PACE ENVTL L. REV. 1 (1998)
TMDLs III: A New Framework for the Clean Water Act's Ambient Standards Program, 28 ENVTL L. REP. 10415 (1998)
On the Law of Biological Diversity and Ecosystem Management, 81 MINN. L. REV. 869 (1997)
TMDLs: The Resurrection of Water Quality Standards-Based Regulation Under the Clean Water Act, [TMDLs I] 27 ENVTL L. REP. 10329 (1997)
TMDLs, Are We There Yet?: The Long Road Toward Water Quality-Based Regulation Under the Clean Water Act, [TMDLs II] 27 ENVTL L. REP. 10391 (1997)
The Water, the Trees, and the Land: Three Nearly Forgotten Cases That Changed the American Landscape, 70 TUL. L. REV. 2279 (1996)
Federalism in Wetlands Regulation: A Consideration of Delegation of Clean Water Act Section 404 and Related Programs to the States (co-authored), 54 MD. L. REV. 1242 (1995)
Reflections on the Endangered Species Act, 25 ENVTL LAW. 689; abbreviated version published in 10 NAT. RESOURCES & ENV'T. 9 (1995)
Why Do We Protect Endangered Species, and What Does That Say About Whether Restrictions on Private Property to Protect Them Constitute "Takings"?, 80 IOWA L. REV. 297 (1995)
Of Bats, Birds and BAT: The Convergent Evolution of Environmental Law, 63 MISS. L.J. 403 (1994)
The Secret Opinions of the United States Supreme Court on Leading Cases in Environmental Law, Never Before Published!, 65 U. COLO. L. REV. 459 (1994)
The Endangered Species Act and Its Implementation by the U.S. Departments of Interior and Commerce, 64 U. COLO. L. REV. 277 (1993)
Environmental Law in the Fifth Circuit, 1991-92 (with C. Gobert), 38 LOY. L. REV. 775 (1993)
Environmental Law in the Fifth Circuit, 1990-91 (co-authored), 37 LOY. L. REV. 705 (1991)
The Regulation of Toxic Discharges Under the Clean Water Act, 21 ENVTL. L. REP. 10528 (Sep.) (1991)
More Net Loss of Wetlands: The Army-EPA Agreement on Mitigation, 20 ENVTL. L. REP. 10212 (June) (1990)
Hard Choices: The Analysis of Alternatives Under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Similar Environmental Statutes, 60 COL. L. REV. 773 (1989)
Ending the War: A Strategy to Save America's Coastal Zone, 47 MD. L. REV. 358 (1988)
President X and the New (Approved) Decisionmaking, 36 AM. U. L. REV. 535 (1987)
This Side of Heresy: Conditioning Louisiana's Ten-year Industrial Tax Exemption Upon Compliance with Environmental Laws, 61 TUL. L. REV. 289 (1986)
Rising Water: The National Flood Insurance Program and Louisiana, 60 TUL. L. REV. 61(1985)
Land Loss in Coastal Louisiana: Causes, Consequences, and Remedies, 58 TUL. L. REV. 3 (1984)
With Charity for All: The Qualification for Business-sponsored Public Interest Law Firms as Charities under the Internal Revenue Code, 93 YALE L. J. 1415 (1984)
The Institutionalization of Caution under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act: What Do You Do When You Don't Know?, 12 ENVTL. L. REP. 15001(1982)
Judicial Review under the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act: A Plaintiff's Guide to Litigation, 11 ENVTL. L. REP. 50043 (1981)

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