The Leaflet: The Heartland Institute Stands with ALEC

Published October 3, 2014

 The Heartland Institute Stands with ALEC

 On Monday, September 22, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt announced, on an NPR appearance, his company was cutting ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council over the group’s position on “climate change.” Since then, Yelp, Yahoo, and Facebook said they either already had or soon intended to leave ALEC as well.

ALEC and 228 lawmakers wrote a letter to 11 Google executives criticizing Schmidt for comments made during the interview on Monday. They stated, “The organizations that pressured you consistently conflate climate change denial with having significant concerns over government mandates, subsidies and climate regulations.” In addition, ALEC’s position on climate change is clearly defined in one of the ALEC Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force’s guiding documents.  ALEC’s Energy Principles states, “Climate change is a historical phenomenon and the debate will continue on the significance of natural and anthropogenic contributions. ALEC will continue to monitor the issue and support the use of sound science to guide policy, but ALEC will also incorporate economic and political realism.”

A recently published Wall Street Journal op-ed by Holman Jenkins, a member of the Journal’seditorial board, claims “ALEC does oppose renewable-energy subsidies, but that doesn’t require having an opinion on climate change since, despite the considerable expense of taxpayer money, handouts to solar or wind have no discernible effect on climate change.”

Legislators are often told they must enact climate change legislation because an assumed “scientific consensus” contends that man-made climate change necessitates urgent action. When faced with the topic of climate change, elected officials should support better research into the causes and consequences of climate change, taking precautionary action such as strengthening infrastructure and burying power lines that will produce benefits even if fears of global warming are exaggerated. They should also focus our scarce investment dollars on real environmental problems and risks.

While The Heartland Institute supports Google’s freedom of speech and opinion, we will continue to fully endorse and support ALEC’s advancement of “limited government, free markets and federalism through dialogue, debate and model policy formulation.”

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