Member Information

Tracy D. Hester

University of Houston Law Center

4104 Martin Luther King Drive
Houston, TX77024

Professor Hester teaches environmental law at the University of Houston Law Center. His research focuses on the innovative application of environmental laws to emerging technologies and unanticipated risks, including climate engineering, deep decarbonization (particularly in energy production), nanotechnologies, artificial intelligence, and advanced wind, solar, and other renewable power systems. Prior to joining the University of Houston Law Center, Prof. Hester served as a partner in Bracewell LLP for sixteen years and led that firm's Houston environmental group. In Fall 2019, Prof. Hester taught the first U.S. law school course on Climate Intervention Law, which focused on emerging climate engineering technologies and legal challenges. He also teaches classes on Environmental Law, Water Law, Natural Resource Damages Liability, Environmental Law in Oil & Gas, Climate Change Liability and Litigation, Environmental Enforcement, Emerging Technologies and Environmental Law, and Advanced Hazardous Waste Law. He originated and teaches an innovative Environmental Practicum that matches students with multiple leading environmental attorneys to work on practical projects and to develop innovative environmental initiatives. He also teaches the first year course on Statutory Interpretation and Regulatory Practice. Prof. Hester is currently the co-director and a co-founder of the Center for Carbon Management in Energy at the University of Houston. During the summer of 2014, Prof. Hester served as the interim Director of the North America Commission on Environmental Cooperation's Submission on Environmental Matters Unit in Montreal, Canada. The Environmental Law Institute also named him as its Environmental Scholar in Residence for 2015. Prof. Hester was inducted into the American College of Environmental Lawyers in 2015 (and named a Regent in 2018), elected as a member of the American Law Institute in 2004, and named the Top Environmental Lawyer in Houston in 2011 by Best Lawyers of America. He was also elected to the Council of the American Bar Associations Section on Environment, Energy and Resources (SEER) in 2011 through 2014, and he currently sits on SEER's Climate Change Task Force. Prof. Hester is the past chair of SEER's Climate Change, Sustainable Development and Ecological Services Committee, its Special Committee on Congressional Relations, and its Environmental Enforcement and Crimes Committee .

Work Phone:

EPA Region:
Region 6 – (AR, LA, NM, OK, and TX)
Year of induction:
B.A., Plan II Honors Program, University of Texas at Austin, 1983; J.D., Columbia University School of Law, 1986
New York, 1986; DC, 1986; Texas, 1989
Court Admissions:
Texas, New York
Professional Societies and Organizations:
American Bar Association American Association of Law Schools American Law Institute Houston Bar Association Foundation for National Resources and Energy Law
Other Environmental Career Experience:
Sidley & Austin (DC); Baker Botts LLP (Houston); Bracewell LLP (Houston)
Representative Publications:
Privilege by Design - A Proposal to Use Experimental Jurisprudence to Define Environmental Self-Audit Protection, 72 Syracuse L. Rev. 1267 (2022) Saved by Silence - Climate Change, Treaty Lacunae, and the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, 46 Vermont L. Rev. 243 (Winter 2021) Consent Decrees as Emergent Environmental Law, 85 Missouri L. Rev. (2021) Still Standing The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement and the Fate of the Commission on Environmental Cooperation, 50 Trends 6 (May-June 2019). Mastering Environmental Law (with Prof. Joel Mintz), (Carolina Academic Press 2019). Managing the Carbon Challenge for the Energy Sector An Outline of Potential Uses for Negative Emissions Technologies in Energy, University of Houston Energy White Paper Series No. 03.2018 (2018). Transnational Liability in U.S. Courts for Environmental Harms Abroad, 64 Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute Annual Proceedings 27-1 (2018). Climate Tort Federalism, 13 Florida Int'l Univ. Law Review 79 (2018) (Symposium Issue). Abandoned But Not Forgotten Improperly Plugged and Orphaned Wells May Pose Serious Concerns for Shale Development, co-authored with Prof. Bret Wells, 8 Michigan Journal of Environmental and Administrative Law 115 (2018). CLIMATE ENGINEERING AND THE LAW REGULATION AND LIABILITY FOR SOLAR RADIATION MANAGEMENT AND CARBON DIOXIDE REMOVAL, co-edited with Prof. Michael Gerrard. (Cambridge U. Press 2018). Legal Pathways to Negative Emissions Technologies and Direct Air Capture of Greenhouse Gases, 48 Environmental Law Reporter 10413 (May 2018). Also published as chapter in Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States, ed. John Dernbach and Michael Gerrard (Environmental Law Institute Press 2018). The Paradox of Regulating Negative Emissions Technologies Under U.S. Environmental Laws, 1 Global Sustainability 1 (2018) Green Statutory Interpretation by Environmental Courts and Tribunals, 29 Environmental Law & Management 1 (2017). Designed for Distrust Revitalizing NAFTA's Environmental Submissions Process, 28 Georgetown Environmental Law Review 29 (Fall 2015). Restating Environmental Law, 39 Columbia J. Envtl L. 1 (Spring 2015). Lead author on article with Profs. Robert Percival, Irma Russell, Victor Flatt and Joel Mintz. A redacted version was published by the Environmental Law Institute in 32 The Envtl Forum 38 (Jan.Feb. 2015) as that issue's lead article.