Michael Lemmon

The Heartland Institute is terrible in a clumsy way, like a kid who gets riled up and doesn’t know what to do about it. After a clunky ad campaign comparing climate activists with murderers this spring, the organization nearly fell apart. But it didn’t, unfortunately, and is now back to terrible, clumsy attempts to brazenly advance the interests of its largely anonymous, climate-denying funders.

Last month, ALEC (an organization of state legislators who have sworn fealty to big business) began advocating for the “Electricity Freedom Act,” a bit of sample legislation aimed at crippling state renewable energy standards. The title of the bill is brazenly hypocritical — which by itself was probably enough to pique the Heartland Institute’s interest. And sure enough, it’s throwing in.

From The Washington Post:

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. …

James Taylor, the Heartland Institute’s senior fellow for environmental policy, said he was able to persuade most of ALEC’s state legislators and corporate members to push for a repeal of laws requiring more solar and wind power use on the basis of economics. …

Taylor dismissed the idea that his group pushed for the measure because it has accepted money from fossil-fuel firms: “The people who are saying that are trying to take attention away from the real issue — that alternative energy, renewable energy, is more expensive than conventional energy.”

It is cheaper to leave your garbage all over the ground instead of paying for recycling, too — unless you get a ticket for littering. The fossil fuel industry, which keeps prices low by not cleaning up its pollution, spends a lot of time and money making sure its littering is legal. That’s only one reason fossil fuels are artificially cheap; massive subsidies are another. But Heartland doesn’t care about your “logic” or “arguments.” It cares about bullying the new kid.

In addition to the geniuses at Heartland, the legislation was written by representatives of fossil fuel companies, including Koch Industries. According to the Post, the measure relies on economic “analysis” performed by two organizations funded by the Kochs — though the head of one organization assures us that “Koch certainly has not had the only role in funding these studies.” Rest assured, the analysis is robust and objective.

Good thing, too. If there’s one thing the Heartland Institute won’t stand for, it’s someone who allows biased philosophy to color political positions.