Jay H. Lehr

Jay H. Lehr


  • Ph.D., Ground Water Hydrology. University of Arizona (1962). [1]
  • Degree in Geological Engineering from Princeton University. [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]

Jay Lehr, who has called the EPA “Fraudulent” in its estimates of how pollution poses hazards to human health, was himself convicted and sentenced to six months in prison for defrauding the EPA, reports Connor Gibson of Polluterwatch. [20]

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


Writing at Breitbart, in an article titled “The Beginning of the End of EPA,” Jay H. Lehr declares: [32]

“Trump and the GOP are saying, finally, what millions of people have been thinking for a long time: EPA has become the cause of, not the solution to, the nation’s major environmental problems. It’s time to end EPA.”  [32]

“Dismantling EPA is one part of a comprehensive set of reforms, many of them discussed by Trump and referred to in the GOP platform, to lighten the massive weight of government regulations on the American people. The nation needs a pro-energy, pro-environment, and pro-jobs agenda that recognizes the tremendous value of the natural resources under our feet.” [32]

EPA has long outlived its usefulness. Let’s return its powers to the states, where they belong.”  [32]

According to Lehr,  “By the 1980s, nothing more needed to be done beyond monitoring our continuing success in cleaning up the environment. It was time to declare victory and go home.” [32]


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]


In one of Lehr's presentations, he suggests that “global warming is the best thing to socialize the world”: [24]

Key Deeds

November 9, 2017 (Upcoming)

Lehr is listed as a speaker at the Heartland Institute's upcoming “America First Energy Conference” at the Marriott Hotel in Houston, Texas. The event description read as follows: [36]

At the America First Energy Conference, we plan to examine—one year and one day after Trump’s shocking Election Day victory—the following:

Where does Trump’s America First Energy Plan stand?

How much progress has been made in implementing it, and what remains to be done?

What scientific and economic evidence is there that the plan is putting the nation on the right path for economic growth, environmental protection, or both?”[36]

In a fundraising letter obtained by DeSmog, Fred Palmer had promoted the event as having the goal to “review the scientific and economic evidence that exposes the fraud inherent in the Obama-era regulation regime” while discussing “the overwhelming benefits of fossil fuels to us all.” [37]

With an anticipated 300 to 400 attendees, it would be “similar to the attendance at [the Heartland Institute’s] popular International Conferences on Climate Change.” [37]

 “In particular, we are inviting state legislators, think tank leaders, energy executives, Trump administration political appointees and staff, and policy analysts who write and speak on environment and energy topics,” Palmer said in the letter. [37]

Many of the other speakers have regularly spoken at the Heartland Institute's past ICCCs. Notable speakers listed so far include Joe Bast, Fred PalmerRoger BezdekH. Sterling BurnettHal Doiron, Paul DriessenJohn Dale DunnMyron Ebell, Heartland's new President Tim HuelskampCraig IdsoDavid LegatesJay LehrAnthony LupoRoss McKitrickSteve MilloyTodd MyersJohn Nothdurt, David Schnare, and numerous others. [38]

October 12, 2017

Lehr commented on President Donald Trump's appointment of Kathleen Hartnett-White as chair of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), pending approval. Lehr was quoted in a October 13 Heartland Institute newsletter: [39]

We can all be sure that President Trump’s nomination of Kathleen Hartnett White to head the Council on Environmental Quality will prove to be a grand slam home run. Her experience in environmental protection and her knowledge of the nation’s outstanding energy resources make her perfect for this era. Her book Fueling Freedom, which she coauthored with Stephen Moore[JH2] , shows an amazing depth of knowledge required to develop our energy resources while protecting our environment,” Lehr said. [40]

Hartnett-White has a history of representing fossil fuel interests. During her tenure as chair of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), appointed by then-governor Rick Perry, the TCEQ was found to “not consistently ensure violators are held accountable.” According to a 2003 Texas State Audit, polluters “often have economic benefits that exceed their penalties, which could reduce their incentive to comply.” [41]

As head of the CEQ, Hartnett-White would be in charge of coordinating interagency science, climate, and environmental policy and oversee things such as the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process and agency compliance with that law. [39]

Though CEQ oversees the NEPA process, it remains unclear how seriously Hartnett-White will take the NEPA review process, for decades seen as a bedrock of U.S. environmental regulation since NEPA became law in 1970,” DeSmog's Steve Horn reported[39]

March 23, 2017

Lehr was a speaker at the Heartland Institute's 12th International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC12), on a panel titled “Climate Politics and Policy.” [35]

February 23, 2017

Jay H. Lehr was a signatory of a petition (PDF) organized by Richard Lindzen of the Cato Institute urging President Donald Trump to pull the United States out of the United Nations international convention on climate change (UNFCCC). [33]

In just a few weeks, more than 300 eminent scientists and other qualified individuals from around the world have signed the petition below,” Lindzen wrote in the letter. [33]

DeSmog investigated the list, and found that only a small handful of the signatories could be considered “even remotely ‘qualified’ or ‘eminent’ — but not in the field of climate science.” The list included individuals “interested in climate,” and one signatory who only identified as an “emailer who wished to sign the petition” while some signers provided no affiliation or address whatsoever. [34]

January 24, 2017

Writing at Breitbart, Jay H. Lehr argues that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has outlives its usefulness: [32]

“Trump and the GOP are saying, finally, what millions of people have been thinking for a long time: EPA has become the cause of, not the solution to, the nation’s major environmental problems. It’s time to end EPA.”

According to Lehr, the ”EPA is now an obstacle” that has been controlled by “radical Leftists” who  “realized they could advance their political agenda by taking over the environmental movement and use it to advocate for ever-more draconian regulations on businesses.” [32]

Before going on to cite a report by the conservative Heritage Foundation, Lehr adds that “Today, EPA is a captive of activist and special-interest groups. Its regulations have nothing to do with protecting the environment.” [32]

Lehr advocates that “The solution is to return this authority to the states, replacing EPA with a Committee of the Whole of the 50 state environmental protection agencies.” [32]

“Dismantling EPA is one part of a comprehensive set of reforms, many of them discussed by Trump and referred to in the GOP platform, to lighten the massive weight of government regulations on the American people. The nation needs a pro-energy, pro-environment, and pro-jobs agenda that recognizes the tremendous value of the natural resources under our feet. […] EPA has long outlived its usefulness. Let’s return its powers to the states, where they belong.”

August, 2016

Jay Lehr is listed as a “Founding Member” of group named Climate Exit (Clexit) led by climate change denier Christopher Monckton. According to Clexit's founding statement (PDF), “The world must abandon this suicidal Global Warming crusade. Man does not and cannot control the climate.” [28][29]

Desmog reports on how the group grew in the wake of the UK's decision to leave the EU. A key member of Clexit's “60 well-informed science, business and economic leaders” is Hugh Morgan, a former board member of the Reserve Bank of Australia and former CEO of Western Mining Corporation with close ties to Australia's Liberal party. [30][31]

According to Clexit's founding statement

If the Paris climate accord is ratified, or enforced locally by compliant governments, it will strangle the leading economies of the world with pointless carbon taxes and costly climate and energy policies, all with no sound basis in evidence or science […]” [29]

June 13, 2016

Jay H. Lehr was quoted in the Heartland Institute's press release, “Heartland Institute Experts React to U.S. House Passing Anti-Carbon Tax Resolution.” [27]

I have spent much of a half century studying and understanding this fact: Were our planet not blessed with carbon dioxide, life would not exist. It seems unfathomable that a group of intelligent people would want to limit our life’s blood.

Without 150 parts per million of CO2 in our atmosphere, plants would perish – and man along with them. Before World War II, we were perilously close to having too little CO2 in the atmosphere. Now the industrial revolution has saved us, and hopefully we are on our way to 500 and 600 ppm, which the planet has exceeded for much of its history.

Carbon dioxide has no down sides. It increases green matter everywhere, including the yields of our crops, which are slowly reducing starvation in the world. And surely CO2’s insignificant role as a greenhouse gas, when compared to water vapor, is not negatively impacting the temperature of our planet. It is surely time to end the insanity and defeat the idea of imposing a carbon tax.” [27]

April, 2016

Jay H. Lehr and Jack Keeley edited a book titled Alternative Energy and Shale Gas Encyclopedia, (Wiley—April 25, 2016) described as a “a comprehensive depository of all information relating to the scientific and technological aspects of the world's energy.” [25]

The book is introduced by Howard Hayden, and features a chapter on shale gas by Heartland Institute “expert” and research fellow Isaac Orr. [26]

June 11-12, 2015

Jay Lehr was a speaker on Panel 4: “Energy Policy,” at the Heartland Institute’s Tenth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC10) in Washington, D.C., with Marlo Lewis and Isaac Orr. [17]

View Jay Lehr’s Panel 4 presentation at the Heartland Institute’s ICCC10, below: [18]

Jay Lehr was a speaker on Panel 7: “Climate Policy and National Security,” at the Heartland Institute’s Tenth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC10) in Washington, D.C., with James Taylor. [17]

View Jay Lehr’s Panel 7 presentation at the Heartland Institute’s ICCC10, below: [19]

May 6, 2015

Jay Lehr provided a positive review for Climate Change, The Facts in an article titled “Top Climate Skeptics Captured in One Book: Review of Climate Change The Facts” on the Heartland Institute's publication Heartlander.

“While there are dozens of excellent books exploding the man caused global warming myth, I believe no more need to be written after this single volume brilliantly put together by Alan Moran,” Lehr said. [13]

Climate Change: The Facts is published by the Institute of Public Affairs and features “22 essays on the science, politics and economics of the climate change debate.” The Institute of Public Affairs, while not revealing most of its funders, is known to have received funding from mining magnate Gina Rinehart and at least one major tobacco company. [14]

The book includes essays and articles from a range of climate change skeptics, with contributers including the following:

March, 2015

Jay Lehr was a guest on the Fox News Channel's Your World with Neil Cavuto where he discussed regulations on hydraulic fracturing. As reported in the Heartland Institute's Blog Somewhat Reasonable , Lehr claims that studies showing fracking contaminates well water are exaggerated:

“We fractured a million wells between the beginning and when the shale gas boom began and we really haven’t proven that there’s been a single water supply contaminated.” [15]

View a full report at Media Matters for America, and view the video coverage below. [16]

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]

September 4, 2014

Jay Lehr was a guest on Fox News's Stossel show, where he described the EPA as “fraudulent” in estimates of amounts of pollution that pose hazards to people's health, such as particulate matter in coal pollution. [20], [23]

Polluterwatch's Connor Gibson notes that Jay Lehr himself had been sentenced to six months–serving three–in a minimum security federal prison back in 1991 for fraud, and his organization at the time was fined over $200,000. [20], [21], [22]

According to a Heartland Institute email advertising Lehr's attendance on Stossel's show, Mr. Lehr's relevance in attacking the EPA comes from a Heartland report he wrote urging the agency to be “systematically dismantled.” [20]

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.” 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.” [11]

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.”

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.

  13. Jay Lehr. “Top Climate Skeptics Captured in One Book: Review of Climate Change The Facts,” Heartlander, May 6, 2015.

  14. Institute of Public Affairs,” SourceWatch. Accessed May 27, 2015.

  15. Donald Lendal. “Heartland's Jay Lehr Talks Fracking Regulations with Neil Cavuto,” Somewhat Reasonable (Heartland Institute Blog). March 26, 2015.

  16. Denise Robbins. “Fox's Cavuto, Heartland's Lehr In Denial About Fracking Pollution,” Media Matters for America. March 24, 2015. 

  17. Speakers,” Heartland Institute. Archived June 30, 2015.

  18. Panel 4: Energy Policy with Marlo Lewis, Jay Lehr, Ph.D., and Isaac Orr,” Heartland Institute, June 11. Archived July, 2015.

  19. Panel 7: Climate Policy and National Security with Capt. Donald K. “Deke” Forbes (USN, ret.), Jay Lehr, Ph.D., and James Taylor,” Heartland Institute, June 11, 2015. Archived July 20, 2015.

  20. Connor Gibson. “Heartland's Jay Lehr calls EPA 'Fraudulent,' Despite Defrauding EPA and Going to Jail,” DeSmogBlog (Crossposted from Polluterwatch), September 4, 2014.

  21. Minnesota Ground Water Association Newsletter (PDF) Vol. 10, No. 3, October, 1991. p.11. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  22. Minnesota Ground Water Association Newsletter (PDF) Vol. 10, No. 2, June, 1991. p.5. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  23. Man Who Defrauded EPA Calls EPA 'Fraudulent' On FOX,” Crooks and Liars, September 2, 2014.

  24. Climate change - It`s about freedom - Jay Lehr,” YouTube. Video uploaded by Bushvision, May 1, 2008.

  25. Jay H. Lehr and Jack Keeley. Alternative Energy and Shale Gas Encyclopedia (Wiley—April 25, 2016). ISBN: 978-0-470-89441-5

  26. Expert: Isaac Orr,” Heartland Institute. Archived May 10, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6hPNr0i8B

  27. Heartland Institute Experts React to U.S. House Passing Anti-Carbon Tax Resolution,” Heartland Institute, June 13, 2016. Archived June 23, 2016.

  28. The Clexit Committee comprises” (PDF), Clexit.net. Archived.pdf on file at Desmog.

  29. After Brexit, Clexit” (PDF), Clexit.net. Archived .pdf on file at Desmog.

  30. Graham Readfearn. “After Brexit, Climate Science Denialists Form New Group to Call for a Clexit,” Desmog, August 3, 2016.

  31. Hugh Morgan AO,” Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Archived February 22, 2002. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/1ObOB

  32. Jay H. Lehr: The Beginning of the End of EPA,” Breitbart, January 23, 2017. Archived January 24, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/PIAmB

  33. PETITION” (PDF), February 23, 2017. Richard Lindzen. PDF Archived at DeSmog.

  34. Graham Readfearn. “Climate Science Denier Richard Lindzen's List of 300 “Scientists” Sent to Trump Is the Usual Parade of Non-Experts,” DeSmog, February 27, 2017.

  35. JAY LEHR,” Climateconference.heartland.org. Archived April 6, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/HUrqC

  36. About,” America First Energy. Archived October 11, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/8bTTJ

  37. October 2017 Fundraising letter by Fred Palmer. On file at Desmog.

  38. SPEAKERS,” America First Energy. Archived October 10, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/OJWeX

  39. Steve Horn. “Trump Names Climate Denier Kathleen Hartnett-White to Head White House Environmental Council,” DeSmog, October 13, 2017.

  40. “Heartland Institute Experts React to Trump’s Appointment of Kathleen Hartnett White for CEQ,” The Heartland Institute. Archived newsletter .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  41. An Audit Report on The Commission on Environmental Quality’s Enforcement and Permitting Functions for Selected Programs” (PDF), State Auditor's Office, December 2003.

Profile image screenshot from YouTube, Jay Lehr speaking at the Heartland Institute's 12th International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC12).