Peter Lehner is the Executive Director of NRDC, and manages more than 350 dedicated environmental advocates in seven offices across the planet and guides NRDC's policy positions and advocacy strategies.
Since Peter assumed his role as Executive Director in 2006, NRDC has strengthened and rededicated its resources towards curbing global warming, building a clean energy future for America, reviving the world's oceans, saving endangered wild spaces and lands, stemming the tide of toxic chemicals, and accelerating the greening of China. NRDC has opened new offices in Chicago and Beijing, and established a new Center for Market Innovation.
"The environmental challenges we face today are enormous, and so are the opportunities to fix them. To get the job done, we need clear-headed leadership from both business and government. And NRDC will be working at every level to make sure that happens."
Peter brings a wealth of experience to his position as Executive Director, including creating and leading the environmental prosecution unit for New York City Law Department early in his career. Subsequently, Peter began his long association with NRDC, serving for five years as Director of NRDC's water program from 1994 to 1999. He left NRDC to become the Chief of the Environmental Protection Bureau of the New York State Attorney General's Office, a job he held for eight years. In that role, he supervised all environmental litigation by New York State, prosecuting a wide variety of polluters and developing innovative multi-state strategies targeting global warming, acid rain, and smog-causing emissions from the country's largest electric utility companies. His work at the Attorney General's office, where he led 40 lawyers and 10 scientists, received great acclaim and recognition for furthering the environmental agenda in New York State, the Northeast and nationally.
In addition to Peter's leadership at NRDC, he has been involved with a number of other organizations. He teaches law at Columbia Law School, and serves on the boards of the Butler Environmental Protection Fund, the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law, New York Rivers United, and the Center for Watershed Protection. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, on the advisory council of Harvard University's David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, and is one of the founding members of the Environmental Law Reporter and Environmental Law Institute's Advisory Board.
Peter has been honored with the Distinguished Public Service Award by the Association of the Bar of the City of New York; the Earth Day Good Government Award by the City of New York; the Environmental Leadership Award by Hudson Riverkeeper; the Region II Environmental Quality Award by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; and the Environmental Leadership award by Environmental Advocates.
Peter's love for the natural world extends beyond the court room and board room. He has spent much of his time in the outdoors with his wife and daughters -- hiking, climbing, canoeing, kayaking and exploring wilderness. Peter received AB degrees in Philosophy and Mathematics from Harvard College, and his law degree from Columbia University Law School, where he continues to teach environmental law. While at NRDC, Peter has continued his extensive involvement in sustainable farming and green business, including in Central America. Peter is fluent in Spanish, and is a Director of Ingenio Taboga, S.A., and Cafetalera Aquiares, S.A.
Photo: Matt Greenslade/photo-nyc.com