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Discussion on the Public Trust Doctrine to be held Nov. 12

October 26, 2021 4:45 PM



The Institute on Water Resources Law & Policy and the Tulane Center for Environmental Law  is hosting an event with three leading legal voices to discuss the seminal Public Trust Doctrine in Louisiana Nov. 12 in an event to be held both online and in-person.

Panelists Judge James L. Dennis of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Tulane Law Professor Emeritus Oliver Houck and Professor and Director of the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic Lisa Jordan will discuss their experiences with the seminal public trust doctrine case, Save Ourselves v. Louisiana Environmental Enforcement Commission. The public trust doctrine requires that the government protect and conserve certain lands held in trust for use by the public. Where did this doctrine come from? How did it develop? Where is it headed? These are just some of the many questions we’ll explore during this talk.

The event, titled Save Ourselves, Then and Now: Revisiting LA's Public Trust Doctrine is from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in Tulane's John Giffen Weinmann Hall, 6329 Freret St., in the courtyard of the Marian Mayer Berkett room, but in-person attendance will be limited due to COVID-19 restrictions. A Q&A session will follow.


  • Judge James L. Dennis is on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Prior to this, he sat on the Louisiana Supreme Court, where he authored the opinion for Save Ourselves. He graduated from the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center in 1962 and obtained an LLM from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1984.  
  • Professor Oliver Houck is a leading scholar in environmental law; he taughte at Tulane Law for decades, and taught courses such as Natural Resources and Biodiversity & Endangered Species. Houck recently retired in 2021, but still maintains an active role in the environmental law community. He has also published several books on environmental issues, including Taking Back Eden, Down on the Batture, and Downstream Toward Home. He’s also written an article about Save Ourselves and its effects on Louisiana— Save Ourselves: The Environmental Case That Changed Louisiana.
  • Professor Lisa Jordan is the Director of the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic. In 2019, the TELC, under Professor Jordan’s supervision, got a favorable ruling in federal court ordering the state to re-do its environmental justice analysis before granting a permit to the Formosa Plastics Plant. She has significant litigation experience and is familiar with the usage of the public trust doctrine in the practice of environmental law.


In-person: In-person attendance will be limited to 25 people. Please register via Eventbrite by Nov. 4.

Remote: We will also be live broadcasting this event via Zoom Webinar: https://tulane.zoom.us/j/98210235310?pwd=L09sSEFiQXNEWUhkMXZmYWV2eXdEZz09 

Registration is not necessary for this.