Peter Lehner

  • Lecturer in Law

Peter Lehner directs Earthjustice's Sustainable Food & Farming Program, developing strategies to promote a more just and environmentally sound agricultural system and to reduce health, environmental, and climate harms from production of our food. Peter is one of the leading experts on the impact of agriculture on climate change and is the author of Farming for Our Future; the Science, Law, and Policy of Climate-Neutral Agriculture. From 2007–2015, Peter was the Executive Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council and the NRDC Action Fund. Among many other new initiatives, Peter shaped a clean food program with food waste, antibiotic-free meat, regional food, and climate mitigation projects. From 1999–2006, Peter served as chief of the Environmental Protection Bureau of the New York State Attorney General's office. He supervised all environmental litigation by and against the state, prosecuting a wide variety of polluters and developing innovative multi-state strategies targeting global warming, and air and water pollution and protecting endangered species. Among other notable cases, he led the team on AEP v Connecticut and joined the briefing team on Massachusetts v EPA. Peter previously served at NRDC for five years directing the clean water program, and before that, he created and led the environmental prosecution unit for New York City. He clerked for Chief Judge James Browning of the Ninth Circuit. Peter holds an AB in philosophy and mathematics from Harvard College and is an honors graduate of Columbia University Law School. Peter is on the boards of the Rainforest Alliance, Environmental Advocates of New York, and manages two large farms in Costa Rica. He taught a seminar on protection of natural resources at Columbia Law School for many years.