The Republican candidates for president have taken their messages of energy independence on the road in Michigan. The state’s primary is just a few days away.
Rick Santorum has been the most vocal candidate about energy and environmental issues on his campaign stops in Michigan. He says “radicals” are blocking energy independence and economic growth in the country.
At a campaign stop in west Michigan this week Rick Santorum was asked for his stance on man-made global warming. He responded:
“There is a radical ideology of radical environmentalists, who, in fact, do put the earth above the needs of man, and see them in conflict with each other.”
Santorum says the federal government should focus on the needs of people first – such as the need for more jobs. He says when people have their needs met they are better able to take care of themselves and, in turn, the earth. He says ultimately the responsibility of environmental stewardship is on the individual. But Santorum says radical environmentalists are using global warming to manipulate the federal government.
“And so I never signed on with global warming. I realized…[applause]”
And then Santorum clarified—
“Let me be specific so I’m not taken out of context—manmade global warming. I do believe the Earth warms, I do believe it cools.”
Santorum rejects the science of climate change – though the vast majority of scientists agree that climate change is real and caused mostly by people.
Santorum also says the federal government needs to stop hoarding and protecting the country’s bountiful natural resources. He says natural gas and coal could be used to enrich the United States, lower fuel costs at the pump, and establish energy independence. His rival, Michigan-native Mitt Romney, agrees.
“Coal, oil, gas, nuclear, solar, wind, ethanol – use all those resources, so we have an ample supply of energy ourselves, and don’t have to send hundreds of billions of dollars buying energy every year. And by the way, put in place that keystone pipeline. That’s a no-brainer.”
But environmentalists in Michigan say the proposal to install an oil pipeline from Canada, through the middle of the U.S., is not a no-brainer for Michiganders. The Enbridge pipeline ruptured in the Kalamazoo River two summers ago.
“Yeah, I think Michigan has seen the dangers firsthand that communities around the country face.”
That’s Jordan Lubetkin with the Michigan chapter of the National Wildlife Federation.
“Pipeline spills are not a rare occurrence. In fact they happen hundreds of time per year.”