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