Rick Santorum: Endangered Species Act places ‘critters above people’

Rick Santorum: Endangered Species Act places ‘critters above people’

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Republican presidential candidate and former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Rick Santorum on Monday expressed concerns with the Endangered Species Act, warning supporters that it could place “critters above people.”

“What we have seen under this administration is a truly radical environmental agenda,” Mr. Santorum said in response to a question at the Gulf Coast Energy Summit in Biloxi, Mississipi.

Mr. Santorum, who is campaigning in the state ahead of the Tuesday primary, warned that the law could me manipulated by Democrats seeking to “put critters above people.”

“There are so many places that we put critters above people,” Mr. Santorum said. “It’s a radical ideology that says we are here to serve the Earth instead of man having dominion over the Earth to serve him and to be a good steward of that Earth.”

The comment is the latest attack made against the Obama administration. Speaking earlier this year, Mr. Santorum said that the president is beholden to “radical environmentalists.”

The Pennsylvania Republican faced criticism in early February when he denied any link between human activity and fluctuating temperatures, pointing to an “absence of conclusive, verifiable scientific evidence.”

“Global warming is the wrong war for America to fight,” Mr. Santorum wrote in an opinion piece. “While millions of Americans are suffering unemployment, their American dream is being blocked by the government rules Romney and Gingrich advocated.”

The Pennsylvania Republican called belief in man-made climate change a “pseudo-religion” whose adherents deny “the interests and property rights of people.”

Mr. Santorum was joined on Monday by his Republican rival, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who struck a similar tone. He told the friendly energy-industry crowd that the left-wing environmental movement, embodied by Mr. Obama, “hates oil.”

“If you read the president’s energy speeches, he is in cloud cucckoo land,” said Mr. Gingrich.

The Georgia Republican took the opportunity to criticize the Justice Department for suing oil companies over North Dakota energy operations, saying the Obama administration is more concerned with saving birds than saving jobs.

“Nobody in the Justice Department has thought about going after wind, because wind is green, and therefore dead birds on behalf of green is good, but dead birds in an oil patch are bad,” said Mr. Gingrich.

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