Zombie Heartland Institute Rises Again

The first trouble with acknowledging externalities is that they are hard to measure.

The second trouble is all those people who tend to act as if the best estimate of anything hard to measure is zero. These tend to take on a mantle of “conservatism” and an exuberant market libertarianism, even though they are acting to maintain a market distortion.

So, you thought the Heartland Institute was dead, that nobody would associate with it, but the Koch brothers team remains entirely comfortable with them.

The Washington Post begins its report thus:

The Heartland Institute, a libertarian think tank skeptical of climate change science, has joined with the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council to write model legislation aimed at reversing state renewable energy mandates across the country.

The Electricity Freedom Act, adopted by the council’s board of directors in October, would repeal state standards requiring utilities to get a portion of their electricity from renewable power, calling it “essentially a tax on consumers of electricity.” Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have binding renewable standards; in the absence of federal climate legislation, these initiatives have become the subject of intense political battles.

The legislative council, or ALEC, is a conservative-leaning group of state legislators from all 50 states that has sought to roll back climate regulation in the past. It lost some corporate sponsors early this year because of its role promoting “stand your ground” laws that allow the use of force in self-defense without first retreating when faced with a serious threat.

But the involvement of the Heartland Institute, which posted a billboard in May comparing those who believe in global warming to domestic terrorist Theodore J. Kaczynski, shows the breadth ofconservatives’ efforts to undermine environmental initiatives on the state and federal level. In many cases, the groups involved accept money from oil, gas and coal companies that compete against renewable energy suppliers.

What a bunch of charmers. Let’s no forget that these people have still got a lot of momentum at the state level.



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