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About Tracy

Tracy Hester advises clients in regulatory matters, emphasizing enforcement defense, permitting, environmental diligence in acquisitions and transactions and cost recovery litigation. Tracy’s experience also includes the innovative application of environmental laws to emerging technologies, such as wind and other renewable power projects, and on novel compliance strategies. In addition to his law practice, Tracy serves as a professor of practice at the University of Houston Law Center.

He has represented clients from several energy industry sectors, including petrochemical manufacturers, petroleum and natural gas pipelines, petroleum refineries, as well as utilities, nanoscale materials manufacturers, cement kilns, newspaper printers and hazardous waste disposal operations. Tracy has also advised and represented financial institutions, companies and local governments in litigation and compliance negotiations in ozone regulatory policy, environmental criminal prosecutions, endangered species controversies, wetland assessment and mitigation and water quality projects. He routinely assists companies with emergency response planning and security assurance legal requirements.

Tracy was elected to the American College of Environmental Lawyers and sits on its Executive Committee. He is also an elected member of the American Law Institute; has served on the governing Council of the American Bar Association’s Section on Environment, Energy and Resources, where he currently co-chairs its new Law Professors Committee; and chairs the Texas Environmental Research Consortium. In addition, Tracy has acted as the vice-chair of the Greater Houston Partnership’s Environmental Advisory Committee for over a decade. Named the Best Environmental Lawyer in Houston in 2011 by Best Lawyers, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently named him to its National Advisory Committee on environmental issues related to the North American Free Trade Agreement. He was also selected as one of the inaugural Energy Fellows for the University of Houston in 2015.


Recent Notable Matters

Numerous clients — potentially responsible parties at several CERCLA sites in different capacities, including as coordinating counsel for the Shore Refining Site, the Geneva Industries Site, the Force Road Site, the Star Lake Canal Site, and early stages of the Malone Site; has coordinated de minimis settlement groups at several sites and participated on PRP steering committees at multiple federal and state sites; has represented large primary PRPs responsible for the bulk of wastes at sites, PRPs with special liability defenses or insurance concerns, bankrupt PRPs, and de minimis and de micromis PRPs; has represented PRPs at CERCLA sites in Texas, Louisiana, New York, California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma and other states

Numerous petrochemical and energy corporations — faced with remediation obligations for either corrective action under RCRA, assessment and remediation under the Texas Risk Reduction Program, or voluntary remediation in response to emergency spills and releases; for example, helped crafted a comprehensive environmental site assessment and corrective action program for a large petrochemical facility located in Texas City that also involved complex contractual indemnification and insurance coverage issues, which affected the choice and extent of response actions; has also served on the Steering Committee of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality



Columbia University School of Law,
Stone Scholar
The University of Texas at Austin,
Bachelor of Arts
high honors, Phi Beta Kappa

Bar Admissions

New York
District of Columbia


State Bar of Texas
District of Columbia Bar
State Bar of New York
American Bar Association
Environment, Energy and Resources Section; Chair, Environmental Crimes and Enforcement Committee; ABA SEER, 2008 - 2010; Vice-Chair, Renewable Energy Committee, 2004 - 2008; Vice-Chair, Corporate Counsel Committee, 2000 - 2001
Houston Bar Association
Board of Directors, 2002 - 2005; Environmental Section Chair, 2000 - 2001
American Bar Foundation
American Law Institute
Texas Bar Foundation
Nanotechnology Standards Panel of the American National Standards Institute
Steering Committee
International Council on Nanotechnologies
Advisory Committee
Houston Local Emergency Preparedness Committee
Pro Bono Counsel, 1998 - 2004
Greater Houston Partnership
Vice-Chair, Environmental Advisory Committee, 1999 - 2017
Greater Houston Partnership
Waste Subcommittee Chair, 1999 - 2003
University of Houston Law Center
Adjunct Professor: Climate Change Liability and Litigation, 2007; Environmental Enforcement, 1994 - 2004; Advanced RCRA Seminar, 1997; Practice of Environmental Law, 1995 - 1996
Virtuosi of Houston
Board of Directors, 2002 - 2005
Galveston Bay Foundation
Trustee, 2004 - 2017
Galveston Bay Council
2004 - 2017
Texas Risk Reduction Program Advisory Group
Steering Committee, 2004 - 2017
Texas Association of Environmental Professionals
Board of Directors, 2004




Fifth Circuit Decision Threatens a Tsunami of Climate Change Tort Cases While the Defense Bar Awaits a Circuit Split

October 22, 2009

On October 16, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit revived a lawsuit filed by residents and property owners along the Mississippi Gulf coast against several corporations in the energy, fossil fuels and chemicals industries alleging that the defendants were responsible for property damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. Comer v. Murphy Oil USA, et al. , No. 07-60756 (5 th Cir. Oct. 16, 2009). The district court dismissed the plaintiffs' state law nuisance, trespass and negligence claims, finding that the plaintiffs had not adequately linked defendants' operations to Hurricane...



Chambers USA
Environmental, 2003 - 2009
Woodward/White, Inc.
Best Lawyers
2006 - 2010
Thomson Reuters
Super Lawyers
Corporate Counsel Edition, 2009 - 2009
Thomson Reuters
Texas Super Lawyers
2003 - 2009
Columbia University School of Law
Columbia Journal of Transnational Law
Articles Editor