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Heartland Institute Launches New Anti-Clean Energy Effort

By JoshMogerman in News on Nov 26, 2012 2:30PM

Turbines at the Lee-DeKalb Wind Energy Center [Duane Rapp]

Chicago’s most prominent hometown climate deniers have a new tactic in their efforts to shortcut clean energy efforts. When last we heard from the Heartland Institute, they were hobbling themselves with a shortlived billboard comparing folks concerned about global warming with the Unabomber. That effort exploded in their faces as their embarrassed funding base disappeared. Now, the Washington Post reports that they are teaming up with the American Legislative Exchange Council to short-circuit pro-renewable energy policies that have been adopted in 29 states and the District of Columbia. Not familiar with ALEC? They are the conservative pro-industry lobbyists who gained notoriety as the folks responsible for the "Stand Your Ground" law in Florida. And the new alliance is not going down well with some of ALEC’s members, which includes some clean energy advocates:

“ALEC is going to wake up and realize that the Heartland Institute, which is funded by special interests, is pushing them in a direction that’s making them irrelevant to, or at best out of touch with, the American public,” said [Solar Energy Industries Association] President Rhone Resch. “And they can’t afford to do that.”
While we are amused by one special interest being irked by efforts on behalf of another, we are even more entertained by ALEC’s proposed “energy freedom index” to expose states apparently threatening their citizens’ liberties by aiding in the expansion of those darn anti-American wind turbines and solar panels (a technology created in the U.S.).

ALEC and Heartland are worked up about renewable energy portfolios - state rules on requiring a growing percentage of energy come from renewable sources (like wind and solar) in an effort to address climate concerns and diversify the power mix. Illinois has one, though the recent Chicago electricity aggregation vote exposed it as a mess. The new blue supermajority in Springfield will likely keep this new Heartland Institute effort irrelevant in their home state.