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Heartland in the Southland

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In a rare foray into largely-Democrat Southern California, the Chicago-based Heartland Institute director and staff hosted gatherings last week in Los Angeles and Orange County. Heartland, a 29-year-old conservative nonprofit, free-enterprise think tank, has recently gained credibility by being “skeptics” and on the “right” side in global warming/climate change issues.

Joseph Bast directs the Heartland Institute where approximately 235 academics and professional economists distribute five monthly newspapers on major domestic policies for every national and state elected official plus 8,400 county and local officials and thousands of civic and business leaders in America. Heartland also produces books, policy studies, and booklets.

I attended a small gathering of mostly U.C.L.A.-affiliated “Independents” and conservatives where Joe Bast spoke of expanding Heartland’s profile in California. While Heartland is well known in the mid-west and Washington, D.C. political circles, not much is heard of the Heartland Institute west of the Rocky Mountains.

Bast stated that in recent years Heartland activities directed at environmental issues have grown to receive about half of Heartland’s resources. According to The Economist, May 2012, the Heartland Institute is "the world’s most prominent think tank promoting skepticism about man-made climate change.” Heartland's Center on Climate and Environmental Policy produces an ambitious program of research and educational projects in defense of free-market environmentalism — which includes a popular petition to rein in U.S. EPA regulations that has gained more than 17,000 signatures.

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