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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

Other Legal Writing
"The Three Katrinas", NATIONAL WETLANDS NEWSLETTER, July/August 2010
"Who Will Pay To Fix Louisiana?", The Nation, July 2010

“Nature or Nurture: What’s Right and What’s Wrong with Adaptive Management,” Environmental Law Reporter, October 2009.

The Scientists Speak: Gaming the Louisiana Coast, NATIONAL WETLANDS NEWSLETTER, Sept.-Oct. 2007
"Wrtten on the Water", 21 TUL. ENVTL. L. J. 101 (2007)
“Beauty and the Beast Within: On the Special Nature of Natural World Law,” 82 WASH. L. REVIEW 611 (2007)
“You Can’t Have Your Wetlands and Eat’em Too,” in “After the Storm:  Restoring America’s Gulf Coast Wetlands,” ENVIRONMENTAL LAW REPORTER, Spring 2006.
“Recovering from Katrina and Rita:  Environmental Governance Lessons Learned and Applied” (co-author), ENVIRONMENTAL LAW INSTITUTE, February 2006.
“The U.S. House of Representatives’ Task Force on NEPA:  The Professors Speak,” ENVIRONMENTAL LAW REPORTER, December 2005.
“Thinking About Tomorrow:  Cuba’s ‘Alternative Model’ for Sustainable Development,” TULANE ENVIRONMENTAL LAW JOURNAL, Summer 2003.
The Tulane Recycling Project, Phase 2: Closing the Loop (co-authored), TUL. UNIV. (2002)
Damage Control: A Field Guide to Important Euphamisms in Environmental Law, 15 TUL. ENVTL. L. J. 129 (2001)
Cuba's New Law of the Envrionment: An Introduction, TUL. INST. ENVTL L. AND POL. (1999)
In Reality, It May Take Surgery, 12 ENVTL. F. 42 (1995)
Coming to Grips with BioDiversity, 8 TUL. ENVTL L.J. 1 (1994)
Laws Need to Ask the Right Questions, 11 ENVTL. F. 6 (1994)
Peer Review (co-authored), TONGASS NAT'L FOREST LAND MANAGEMENT PLAN (1994)
The Role of Technology in Marine Habitat Restoration and Enhancement (multiple-authored), NAT'L RESEARCH COUNCIL, NAT'L ACADEMY OF SCIENCE (1994)

“The Tulane Environmental Project, Phase 2: Procurement,” Tulane University, May 1992 (co-authored).

An Open Letter to EPA Administrator William K. Reilly, NAT'L WETLANDS NEWSLETTER (July/August) (1991)
The Tulane Recycling Project, Phase 1: A Proposal (co-authored), TUL. UNIV. (1991)
Legal Options to Address the Importation of Hazardous and Solid Waste into Louisiana (co-authored), LOUISIANA DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY (1990)
A Report on Legal Options to Address the Importation of Hazardous and Solid Waste into Louisiana, REPORT TO THE LOUISIANA DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY (co-authored) (1990)

More Net Loss of Wetlands:  The Army-EPA Agreement on Mitigation,” Environmental Law Reporter, June, 1990.

The Silent War, GAMBIT MAGAZINE (1982)
Right-to-Know Legislation - 1985, Louisiana Legislative Research Projects Program

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