Jay H. Lehr

Jay H. Lehr


  • Ph.D., Ground Water Hydrology. University of Arizona (1962).
  • Degree in Geological Engineering from Princeton University.

Source: [1]


Jay H. Lehr is a Senior Fellow and “Science Director” of the Heartland Institute. He is also a “motivational speaker” and prolific writer. He was editor of “Rational Readings of Environmental Concerns,” which labels environmentalists as “extremists” and “alarmists” among other things. He has testified before Congress numerous times on environmental issues.

Dr. Lehr's experience is in groundwater hydrology. He received the nation's first Ph.D. in Groundwater Hydrology from the University of Arizona and later became the executive director of the National Association of Groundwater Scientists and Engineers. [2]

Stance on Climate Change

“The media willfully ignores thousands of scientists who believe in global warming but do not believe its effects will be 'catastrophic.' The only global warming catastrophes are going to be bad public policies based on fear and panic rather than caution and science.” [3]

Key Quotes

Lehr was presented as an expert on Fox News's “Hannity” show to discuss the recent nuclear disaster in Japan. He concluded that “I can tell you with the utmost confidence there will not be a health impact of anything that is going on at the Fukushima power plant.” [4]

Key Deeds


Lehr speaks regularly on environmental issues and climate change (often on behalf of the Heartland Institute) where he generally supports an anti-environmentalist, skeptical position. 

For example, see a sample in one of Lehr's presentations where he suggests that “global warming is the best thing to socialize the world”:

November 5, 2014

The Heartland Institute's “environmental science and policy experts” published comments following the release of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) “Synthesis Report,” completing the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). [12] Jay Lehr wrote it is “clear that the shrill panic of the global warmers has worn thin on the common people in this nation.” [12]

August 28, 2014

Jay Lehr appeared on the Stossel Show with John Stossel on Fox News, calling the Environmental Protection Agency “fraudulent,” despite having previously defrauded the EPA himself by “falsifying employee time sheets on a government contract,” and serving a six month sentence and paying a $200,000 fine for it in 1991. [11] Lehr contends that the EPA is “fraudulent” in its “estimates of the amounts of pollution that pose hazards to people’s health, such as particulate matter in coal pollution.” [11] Lehr states that none of the EPA’s amendments since 1980 have been beneficial to our environment or human health and “all they [EPA] do is ruin our economy.” When asked by Stossel if it would be a good idea to reduce carbon dioxide in the air, Lehr said it was “absurd to call carbon dioxide a pollutant … and it has given the US EPA an opportunity to run our lives.” Lehr reiterated his stance to phase out the EPA in a five-year plan, which he detailed in his July, 2014 Policy Brief for the Heartland Institute titled “Replacing the Environmental Protection Agency.”

See Jay Lehr’s interview below on the Stossel Show:

July, 2014

Jay Lehr, science director and senior fellow, writes a Policy Brief for the Heartland Institute entitled, “Replacing the Environmental Protection Agency,” which he describes in the abstract as a “plan to replace the United States Environmental Protection Agency with a Committee of the Whole of the 50 state environmental protection agencies, utilizing a phased five-year transition period.” 

Within the Policy Brief, Lehr writes that the ten years following the establishment of the EPA in 1971 he “helped write a significant number of legislative bills that were to make up a true safety net for our environment,” including, “Water Pollution Control Act (later renamed the Clean Water Act), Safe Drinking Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (which, surprisingly, covered deep mines as well), Clean Air Act, Federal Insecticide, Rodenticide, and Fungicide Act, and Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (which we now know as Superfund).” 

Following Lehr’s ten-year period of legislative bill writing, he notes in the brief that “around 1981, liberal activist groups recognized EPA could be used to advance their political agenda by regulating virtually all human activities regardless of their impact on the environment … Since that time, not a single environmental law or regulation has been passed that benefitted either the environment or society … Today, EPA is all but a wholly owned subsidiary of liberal activist groups.”

Lehr concludes the Policy Brief by writing “it’s time for the national EPA to go,” and that “the path forward is now clear and simple: A five-year transition from a federal government bureaucracy to a Committee of the Whole composed of the 50 state environmental protection … All that is missing is the political will.” 

March, 2008

Lehr spoke at the Heartland Institute's 2008 International Conference on Climate Change.

His presentation, below, is titled “Humans Are Not the Cause of Climate Change”:



According to the Heartland Institute, Lehr is the author of 400 magazine and journal articles and 12 books.

Lehr's profile at “The Encyclopedia of Water,” where he was chief editor, reveals that these 400 articles were on “ground water hydrology.” According to a search of Google Scholar, Lehr has not published any articles in peer reviewed journals on the subject of climate change.

Sample Publications:

  • Jay H. Lehr, ed., Rational Readings on Environmental Concerns (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1992).
  • Jay H. Lehr, Standard Handbook of Environmental Science, Health, and Technology (McGraw-Hill Publishing Co. 2000).


  1. Dr. Jay H. Lehr,” The Encyclopedia of Water. Archived August 8, 2008.

  2. Policy Experts & Staff,” The Heartland Institute. Archived October 4, 2008.

  3. Alarmism Undermines Sound Policy” (Letter to the Editor in the Chicago Sun Times). The Heartland Institute, April 4, 2006. Archived November 25, 2006.

  4. Are Fears of a Catastrophic Nuclear Meltdown in Japan Warranted?” (Transcript), Fox News, March 14, 2011.

  5. Heartland Experts: Jay Lehr,” The Heartland Institue. Accessed January, 2012.

  6. “The Health Effects of Low-Level Radiation” (PDF), American Council on Science and Health. See page 14.

  7. “Modern Groundwater Exploration: Discovering New Water Resources in Consolidated Rocks Using Innovative Hydrogeologic Concepts, Exploration, Drilling, Aquifer Testing, and Management Methods,” Wiley Online Library, January 28, 2005 (see “Author Biography”).

  8. Who We Are,” International Climate Science Coalition. Accessed January, 2012.

  9. Jay Lehr,” SourceWatch entry.

  10. ExxonSecrets Factsheet: Jay H. Lehr.

  11. Connor Gibson. “Man Who Defrauded EPA calls EPA “Fraudulent” on FOX,” PolluterWatch, August 29, 2014. Archived September 5, 2014.

  12. Heartland Institute Experts Comment on Latest United Nations Climate Report,” Heartland Institute, November 5, 2014.

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