Thursday, February 16, 2012

Heartland Institute responds to stolen and fake documents

Yesterday afternoon, two advocacy groups posted online several documents they claimed were The Heartland Institute’s 2012 budget, fundraising, and strategy plans. Some of these documents were stolen from Heartland, at least one is a fake, and some may have been altered.

The stolen documents appear to have been written by Heartland’s president for a board meeting that took place on January 17. He was traveling at the time this story broke yesterday afternoon and still has not had the opportunity to read them all to see if they were altered. Therefore, the authenticity of those documents has not been confirmed.

Since then, the documents have been widely reposted on the Internet, again with no effort to confirm their authenticity.

One document, titled “Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy,” is a total fake apparently intended to defame and discredit The Heartland Institute. It was not written by anyone associated with The Heartland Institute. It does not express Heartland’s goals, plans, or tactics. It contains several obvious and gross misstatements of fact.

We respectfully ask all activists, bloggers, and other journalists to immediately remove all of these documents and any quotations taken from them, especially the fake “climate strategy” memo and any quotations from the same, from their blogs, Web sites, and publications, and to publish retractions.

The individuals who have commented so far on these documents did not wait for Heartland to confirm or deny the authenticity of the documents. We believe their actions constitute civil and possibly criminal offenses for which we plan to pursue charges and collect payment for damages, including damages to our reputation. We ask them in particular to immediately remove these documents and all statements about them from the blogs, Web sites, and publications, and to publish retractions.

How did this happen? The stolen documents were obtained by an unknown person who fraudulently assumed the identity of a Heartland board member and persuaded a staff member here to “re-send” board materials to a new email address. Identity theft and computer fraud are criminal offenses subject to imprisonment. We intend to find this person and see him or her put in prison for these crimes.

Apologies: The Heartland Institute apologizes to the donors whose identities were revealed by this theft. We promise anonymity to many of our donors, and we realize that the major reason these documents were stolen and faked was to make it more difficult for donors to support our work. We also apologize to Heartland staff, directors, and our allies in the fight to bring sound science to the global warming debate, who have had their privacy violated and their integrity impugned.

Lessons: Disagreement over the causes, consequences, and best policy responses to climate change runs deep. We understand that.

But honest disagreement should never be used to justify the criminal acts and fraud that occurred in the past 24 hours. As a matter of common decency and journalistic ethics, we ask everyone in the climate change debate to sit back and think about what just happened.

Those persons who posted these documents and wrote about them before we had a chance to comment on their authenticity should be ashamed of their deeds, and their bad behavior should be taken into account when judging their credibility now and in the future.

The Heartland Institute is a 28-year-old national nonprofit organization with offices in Chicago, Illinois and Washington, DC. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.

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With tiny budgets like $310 million, $100 million, and $95 million respectively, how can lovable underdogs like Greenpeace, Sierra Club, and NRDC *ever* hope to compete with mighty Heartland's $6.5 million?

Warmist allegation:

"Heartland is projecting a boost in revenues from $4.6 million in 2011, to $7.7 million in 2012. That will enable an operating budget of $6.5 million, as well as topping up the fund balance a further $1.2 million."

[Sept 2011]: Greenpeace Environmental Group Turns 40

"Greenpeace International, based in Amsterdam, now has offices in more than 40 countries and claims some 2.8 million supporters. Its 1,200-strong staff ranges from "direct action" activists to scientific researchers. Last year, its budget reached $310 million."

[Nov 2011]: Sierra Club Leader Will Step Down -

"He said the Sierra Club had just approved the organization’s largest annual budget ever, about $100 million for 2012, up from $88 million this year."

[Oct 2011]: Do green groups need to get religion?

"That’s Peter Lehner talking. Peter, a 52-year-old environmental lawyer, is executive director of the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of America’s most important environmental groups. The NRDC has a $95 million budget, about 400 employees and about 1.3 million members. They’re big and they represent a lot of people."

SOURCE (See the original for links)

I'm confused: If scientists are completely uninterested in money, how did Heartland allegedly win the climate debate by buying scientists for $300k, while warmists lost it while splitting up $79 billion in US government money?

Warmist allegation: Heartland buys anti-climate change "scientists" for $300K

The US government has spent over $79 billion since 1989 on policies related to climate change, including science and technology research, administration, education campaigns, foreign aid, and tax breaks. Despite the billions: “audits” of the science are left to unpaid volunteers. A dedicated but largely uncoordinated grassroots movement of scientists has sprung up around the globe to test the integrity of the theory and compete with a well funded highly organized climate monopoly. They have exposed major errors.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Torrent of Greenie money gets results in Minnesota

It might be the most effective advocacy group you never heard of. Regardless, you have likely paid for enactment of their aggressive green agenda through higher taxes, higher utility bills and a slower commute to work.

Organized under the banner of the RE-AMP Energy Network, a group of well-endowed national foundations has lavished unheard of sums of special interest money on Minnesota green-oriented nonprofits as they relentlessly pursue their agenda. An investigation by the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota (FFM) has revealed a coordinated campaign to influence policy makers, media coverage and public opinion.

“We were sick of losing on this issue. We thought that if we had a better game plan, then we might win more,” said Michael Noble, a key RE-AMP strategist with Fresh Energy, in a Monitor Institute report.

The influx of some $48 million of special interest “engaged philanthropy” funding to Minnesota advocacy groups since 2003 has helped pay the way for implementation of a sweeping green agenda at the state and local level. RE-AMP funding went to groups that had 69 registered lobbyists in St. Paul in 2010, according to records at the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board. This army of advocates makes RE-AMP allies one of the biggest lobbying forces at the capitol on paper.

“The Garfield Foundation wants its grants to contribute to a cleaner environment, a stable climate and a sustainable future but, we know that going it alone won’t get us very far down that path. Our philanthropic dollars are leveraged at least ten-fold by investing in RE-AMP and aligning our dollars with the intelligence emerging from the RE-AMP Network,” said Jennie Curtis, executive director of the Massachusetts Garfield Foundation in the Monitor Institute report.

What has this unprecedented injection of outside special interest money wrought in the North Star state? RE-AMP’s website touts a checklist of ground-breaking legislative victories achieved over the period national foundations have contributed millions of dollars to Minnesota nonprofits.

* The Next Generation Energy Act (2007)that outlawed new coal plants, moved toward a cap and trade system and imposed drastic energy mandates

* Killed the proposed Big Stone II coal power plant on the South Dakota border

* A “Complete Streets Law” that gives bikes and pedestrians priority status on roads while driving up construction and assessment costs to homeowners

* Politically correct natural gas rates that penalize ratepayers who use more than the government’s suggested allotment of energy

* Measures to reduce the need for cars while increasing dependence and taxpayer spending on rail transit

* Burdensome new building codes and costly energy efficiency requirements

* Laid the groundwork for a labyrinth of controversial new power lines for wind energy

"Fresh Energy is proud of its cooperation with other groups and foundations who are also working for an energy system less dependent on fossil fuels, one that's good for our economy and our environment," Noble, executive director of Fresh Energy, told FFM in a statement.

FFM has tracked 285 grants totaling $48 million in funding to more than 40 non-profits and local governments since 2003 in an all-out effort to radically rewrite Minnesota environmental policy. Some of the top five non-profit recipients of this investment may be unfamiliar to many Minnesotans, but not to policy makers and state capitol insiders.

Fresh Energy $9,433,500

Minnesota Public Radio $5,100,000

Izaak Walton League of America Midwest Office $4,498,202

Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy $3,794,235

Great Plains Institute for Sustainable Development $3,400,084

The fat checks, however, come with strings attached. A review of grants listed online by the Energy Foundation of San Francisco provides a window into how RE-AMP works. The synopsis for each grant clearly illustrates how RE-AMP directs non-profits to comprehensively target legislators, utilities, labor, public opinion, even religious institutions. Examples include:

* “Educate opinion leaders and policy makers in Minnesota on the elements of a carbon cap and trade system” (Fresh Energy/$75,000/2009 )

* “To accelerate the retirement of coal-fired power plants in Minnesota” (Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy/$150,000/2010)

* “To hire labor organizers in the Midwest to educate labor leaders on climate” (Blue Green Alliance Foundation/$350,000/2008)

* “To support “Congregations Caring for Creation” to develop a strategic plan for its global warming work with faith communities in Minnesota” (International Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture/$15,000/2007)

RE-AMP’s network and influence extend well inside Minnesota government. Behind the scenes, RE-AMP affiliates have collaborated with state officials to draft regulations and implement new environmental mandates. For example, two key RE-AMP groups were included in a 2009 Minnesota Public Utilities Commission news release and credited with helping construct a controversial “decoupling” natural gas pilot pricing system.

In addition, several former RE-AMP strategists are well-positioned to institutionalize many key goals of the coalition. Paul Aasen, a former executive with the Center for Environmental Advocacy, now runs the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the state’s equivalent of the Environmental Protection Agency. The state’s top energy official, Bill Grant, served as Associate Executive Director of the Izaak Walton League in Minnesota. Grant is responsible for implementing the agenda championed by his former colleagues for the Dayton administration. Most recently Grant’s name has surfaced in the search for a chair for the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission

“Nobody knows Minnesota’s energy policy like Bill Grant,” commented Mike Noble of Fresh Energy, a RE-AMP mainstay.

Besides high profile cabinet level positions, RE-AMP advocates populate influential policy making advisory boards and commissions. Jennifer Munt, president of Transit for Livable Communities, represents District 3 on the Metropolitan Council. David Van Hattum, a program manager with Transit for Livable Communities, and Ethan Fawley, a transportation expert with Fresh Energy, were appointed to the Met Council’s Transportation Advisory Board (TAB).

Several RE-AMP members receive prominent treatment on two Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) web pages for RE-AMP supported initiatives. On the GreenStep Cities website, three RE-AMP members are listed as MPCA partners—the Center for Energy and Environment, Envision Minnesota and Transit for Livable Communities. The expert featured on the MPCA’s “Next Step” energy page is Michael Noble, executive director of Fresh Energy, a group that receives sizable RE-AMP funding in Minnesota. The expert featured on the MPCA’s “Next Step” transportation page is Dave Van Hattum with Transit for Livable Communities, another RE-AMP nonprofit. Among other RE-AMP grant recipients listed on the same website are the Center for Energy and Environment, Envision Minnesota, Green Institute, Great Plains Institute for Sustainable Development, Institute for Local Self Reliance, Izaak Walton League, Minnesota Environmental Partnership and Windustry.

Yet another RE-AMP foundation donor has deep ties to the Dayton administration. Eric Dayton, Governor Dayton’s son, serves on the board of the Rockefeller Family Fund. The New York foundation has provided more than $1.8 million in funding for RE-AMP causes in Minnesota. Alida Messinger, Governor Dayton’s ex-wife and mother of Eric, previously served on the same foundation’s board.

Tarryl Clark, former Assistant Majority Leader of the Minnesota Senate, was named co-chair last year of the BlueGreen Alliance, a Sierra Club affiliated recipient of RE-AMP funding. Clark was assigned to coordinate a nine-state campaign that included Minnesota and their mission was to promote green jobs with labor and environmentalists.

DFL-friendly political action funds have also benefited from still another RE-AMP philanthropist. Over the last two election cycles, the Tides Foundation has contributed $80,000 to WIN Minnesota and $60,000 to The Alliance for a Better Minnesota.

Participating RE-AMP foundations have also invested millions in media training, media relations, blogs and social media. St. Paul-based Fresh Energy coordinates the network’s media center for all eight Midwestern states, leveraging a RE-AMP website called Midwest Energy News to garner positive news stories.

In the past year, the Star Tribune, Minnesota’s largest newspaper, has published nine articles submitted by Midwest Energy News on energy and environmental issues in the paper’s business news section and three blog posts. The articles were presented as mainstream news stories with no explanation of Midwest Energy News’ connection to RE-AMP or Fresh Energy in the first eight articles. The last Midwest Energy News story published in the Star Tribuneincluded a disclaimer.

While proclaiming editorial independence from both Fresh Energy and RE-AMP, Midwest Energy News reliably focuses on the same agenda. For example, Midwest Energy Newspicked up reports that the Midwestern Governor’s Association had scuttled a regional cap-and-trade pact last year, a pet project that RE-AMP foundations spent $2.8 million to support and promote. The editor of Midwest Energy News, however, soon replaced his original post with an article headlined “Midwest cap and trade: Not dead, just sleeping.” While acknowledging the first post was mostly correct, the author, Ken Paulman, wrote that it was removed due to “a critical error.” Paulman included an apology for adding “to the confusion without thoroughly vetting the previously published information.”

Another prominent Minnesota media outlet, Minnesota Public Radio (MPR), accepted a $3 million grant in 2008 for its American Public Media unit to cover “sustainability issues.” The grant was issued by the Kendeda Fund, a RE-AMP participating foundation. MPR also received $2.1 million from Kendeda in 2005 for coverage of sustainability issues. The American Public Media programs supported by the Kendeda funding are heard statewide on Minnesota Public Radio stations.

“Kendeda Fund supports “Global Sustainability News Coverage and Programming” at American Public Media’s Marketplace, a suite of public radio business programs produced in Los Angeles,” said Bill Gray, MPR corporate spokesman. “Specific to your interest, this support to Marketplace has no impact on Minnesota environmental and energy policy, nor does it have any impact on Minnesota Public Radio or its programming.”

A glowing MPR feature revealed the impact of RE-AMP funding in generating positive news coverage. "Nothing is more important to the future of the economy and, ultimately, to our survival than awareness of how our actions affect global sustainability," says JJ Yore, executive producer of American Public Media's Marketplace. It's a sentiment echoed across several other programs from American Public Media--the production and distribution arm of Minnesota Public Radio.”

The MPR story went on to state the grant “is allowing Marketplace®, Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippett, Weekend America and American RadioWorks to expand their coverage in this area and reframe the topic in interesting and highly relevant ways. So sustainability becomes as much a story about lifestyle, economics, society and religion as one about the environment.”

There appears to be no need for RE-AMP’s nonprofit network to be concerned about another critical sustainability issue—sustainable funding for their recipient network of nonprofit organizations. After investing $48 million, the wealthy RE-AMP foundations that have targeted Minnesota lawmakers, media and public for nearly a decade show no signs of cutting back now.


The shale revolution and Britain

The weather conditions of the past week could not have been better conceived to show up the inadequacies of Britain’s — and the rest of Europe’s — energy policy. A vast anticyclone extending from Siberia to eastern England has brought snow as far south as Rome and temperatures of minus 40˚C to Eastern Europe. With North Sea gas production in sharp decline, never has Europe’s position on the end of a long gas pipeline originating in Russia been so exposed.

As that country’s demand for energy has spiked, so the quantity of gas which it is prepared to export to the rest of Europe — also gagging for extra energy — has slumped. The wholesale price of gas has soared by more than a third in a week. Were electricity companies not still able to substitute some gas-generating capacity with coal-fired power — from plants due to be closed in 2016 to meet carbon-reduction targets — we could well find ourselves struggling to keep the lights on. Try as we might, we are not going to achieve national energy security with any presently known renewable technologies, as they are too expensive and unreliable. It is conceivable that we could achieve it, however, by means of a vast but hitherto unexploited resource: shale gas.

The vast reserves of gas concealed in shale have long been known about, but until recently there was no economic means to extract them. Over the past five years, however, the situation has changed dramatically, thanks to a method of hydraulically fracturing rock along its seams — or ‘fracking’ for short. While Britain and Europe have been throwing hundreds of billions in subsidies at renewable energy, the US shale gas industry has expanded to account for one quarter of all the country’s gas production — all without subsidies. In doing so it has caught many environmentalists completely unawares. The energy-scarce world of their dreams has been put off for a couple of centuries at least; instead we are staring at a future of potential energy abundance.

Moreover, exploitation of shale gas is not at odds with carbon reduction policies: kilo­watt for kilowatt, energy generated from shale gas emits only half as much carbon as coal — the energy source which it is already beginning to replace in many American states. It is estimated that $4 spent on shale delivers the same energy as $25 spent on oil Even Barack Obama has belatedly started to extol the virtues of shale: little wonder, given that a shale-driven glut of natural gas has halved US electricity prices. Over the last three years, more than 4,000 wells have been drilled in the Marcellus shale formation in Pennsylvania.

Early indications are that Europe may be no less fortunate in its reserves than the US. Current estimates are that the continent has 630 trillion cubic feet of shale; not far behind the US’s potential of 862 trillion cubic feet. Britain’s recoverable reserves are estimated at 20 trillion cubic feet, which will produce perhaps enough energy for the next 100 years. This is, to put it mildly, a claim that cannot be made about Britain’s wind farms. And this is what infuriates the environmental lobby: the discovery of shale threatens to make redundant their carefully planned, heavily subsidised plans for renewable energy. There may be no energy crisis after all.

Fracking is not a pretty process: it involves drilling a large well and then pumping large quantities of water and sand down it in order to fracture the appropriate strata of rock. Once the rock is fractured, gas can seep into the well and be forced to the surface. But it isn’t anything like as hazardous as environmentalists — in a repeat of the fantasy and exaggeration which characterised the campaign against GM foods a decade ago — like to claim.

Another fear is that fracking causes earth tremors. True, a couple of very minor tremors — of the sort that occur in Britain hundreds of times a year — do appear to have been caused by test-drilling near Blackpool, the epicentre of an embryonic British fracking industry which is now temporarily stalled as a result. But then coal-mining also causes minor earth tremors. It is a problem to be managed, not to be used as a reason to close down an entire industry. Mike Stephenson, head of energy science at the British Geological Survey, said that ‘most geologists think this is a pretty safe activity’ because ‘the risk is pretty low and we have the scientific tools to tell if there is a problem’.

In the 1990s, Britain allowed environmentalist propaganda to obliterate Britain’s foothold in the GM food industry. Far from keeping Britain GM-free, as the environmental lobby fantasised, we ended up eating GM soya imported from the US — and nobody has suffered as a result. All that the campaign achieved was to ensure that Britain will not profit from the technology.

The same must not be allowed to happen with shale gas. At present, more people die from the cold in Britain — because they are unable to afford to heat their houses — than are killed on the roads. This is an appalling state of affairs for a supposedly rich country. Britain could be on the cusp of a new era of clean, cheap shale energy — but only if we seize the opportunity, as the Americans have.


Australia: Shark nets sabotaged by Greenies, putting lives at risk

Those responsible for this should be fed to sharks themselves

RADICAL conservationists are cutting down or slicing holes in shark nets, putting the lives of swimmers and surfers at risk.

Nets are believed to have been damaged with knives on four separate occasions and at least once, at Bondi, the vandals cut the net from its anchors, leaving it washed up at nearby Ben Buckler.

Primary Industries Department spokesman Brett Fifield said the department had investigated vandalism at Bondi, Maroubra, MacMasters Beach on the Central Coast and most recently Warriewood on the northern beaches.

"These acts of sabotage are senseless. The success of these nets speaks for itself. Slashing a hole in a net reduces their effectiveness," Mr Fifield said.

"At the end of the day it's about protecting humans with minimal impact on marine life."

Some conservationists have been waging a bitter campaign against the nets for years, claiming they are also killing large amounts of other marine life, including dolphins, whales and sea turtles.

The NSW Greens refused to condemn the attacks yesterday, with MP Cate Faehrmann saying: "Shark nets are indiscriminate killers of harmless marine life and are next to useless in preventing attacks anyway.

"The government should remove them. Given how much harmless marine life are killed in shark nets it's not surprising they have become targets in this way."

Glen "Lenny" Folkard, who survived an attack by a 3.1m bull shark while surfing at Redhead Beach four weeks ago, condemned the damaging of the nets. Mr Folkard said he wondered how the vandals would feel if there was an attack at a beach where they had damaged nets. "You can be against the nets but keep the debate on land," he said.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


1 comment:

slktac said...

$48 million to teach sustainability and green concepts to a state that elected Jesse Ventura and Al Franken to political office? I think they overpaid.....