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Environmental law students tour fragile areas of coastal Louisiana

April 02, 2019 3:15 PM

(Photo credit: Christopher Dalbom)


The Coastal and Wetlands Law seminar took a field trip to Cocodrie, La., and the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) in mid-March to put legal issues surrounding Louisiana’s wetlands into real-world context.

The field trip, hosted by LUMCON professor and Tulane Adjunct Professor Alex Kolker, took Tulane students and faculty, who braced a cold and windy day, on boats to see first-hand oil and gas facilities, navigational and storm water infrastructure, and the delicate marshes that are at the center of so much legal, legislative, and political action in coastal Louisiana.

The seminar,  previously taught by Tulane Law Professor Oliver Houck, is being taught by new Adjunct Lecturers in Law Tad Bartlett,  Emma Elizabeth "Bessie" Antin Daschbach (both of Jones Swanson Huddell & Garrison, LLC), and Christopher Dalbom (of the Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law & Policy and the Tulane Center for Environmental Law).

“Louisiana is, unfortunately, something of a pioneer in the types of coastal land loss that will be felt around the world this century," said Dalbom. "However, we’re also at the leading edge of legal action responding to the crisis. My co-instructors are among the leaders in that response. These students will get to take what they have learned this semester with them throughout their careers, wherever they practice, and build on the Louisiana experience to become leaders in their own right.” 

Students  are learning about both the traditional legal structures that come together in coasts and wetlands as well as cutting-edge litigation grappling with land loss, climate change and sea level rise, Dalbom said.

The field trip was made possible with the support of the Tulane Center for Environmental Law, which was inaugurated in March of this year. The center is an expansion of Tulane’s environmental law program and will serve as a hub for coursework, programming, education, research and informed discourse on emerging issues important to environmental law.

More photos of the tour can be found here.