STEUBENVILLE - The Obama administration is "playing politics" and turning climate science into "political science," Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said Monday in Steubenville.
Santorum, a resident of Verona, Pa., near Pittsburgh, was accompanied by family members as he addressed a crowd of about 500 supporters who gathered at Froehlich's Classic Corner.
Santorum said America needs an environmental policy that develops energy resources cleanly and safely.
Photo by Joselyn King
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum speaks Monday at Froehlich’s Classic Corner in Steubenville.
"I refer to global warming not as climate science, but 'political science,'" Santorum said. "A lot of these environmental sciences are just that - political sciences. They have nothing to do with ... real understanding of how we have to value both the environment and its impact on man and the world."
Rebuilding the American economy is important, especially to the communities that border the Ohio River, he said.
"This area of the country has really suffered," Santorum said. "We saw the devastation of the loss of manufacturing jobs, the devastation of radical environmental policies and what they've done to our energy production in this country.
"Here in southeastern Ohio, southwestern Pennsylvania and West Virginia, coal is a very important part of our heritage."
He spoke of his own grandfather being a coal miner, and how energy drove the local economy.
Santorum then addressed comments he made over the weekend criticizing President Barack Obama's political "theology," and how it drives his administration's environmental policy.
Santorum told the crowd Obama's is a theology that considers man equal to other species on Earth, and that man should be treated no differently.
"Whereas we all know, man has the responsibility as being steward of the Earth," he said. "We are good stewards ... we are intelligent and we can actually manage things."
Environmentalists suggest leaving things for nature to take care of itself, Santorum continued. He said this isn't the answer, as nature left unchecked runs toward "boom and bust, decay and destruction."
Likewise, if man nurtures his garden, it grows, Santorum said.
Democrats "criticize the right for being anti-science, but when it comes to the management of the Earth, they are the anti-science ones," he said. "There is obviously a role for government to play in making sure that we have responsible environmental stewardship. No more do we want to leave the Earth to manage itself than do we want to leave it to individuals to do what they want to do. That's not my philosophy of government - that's not my philosophy of freedom. Freedom isn't to do what you want to do. It's to do what you ought to do. Right? Let's use our intellect and technology for the good of both mankind and the environment."
He also noted how spending on entitlement programs has grown from being "less than 10 percent"of the federal budget when he was born 54 years ago, to about 60 percent of the budget today.
And that growth in government hasn't come in the area of defense spending, he added. Defense spending equaled 60 percent of government spending in 1958, and is now about 17 percent of the budget, according to Santorum.
Andy Strohmeyer of Steubenville appreciates Santorum's policies.
"I also like that he is a Christian," he said.
Jennifer Skender-Burns of Toronto said in Santorum, she is "looking for the right 'political change.'"
"I believe he can get us back to the fundamentals this country is founded on," she said. "I believe the current administration - as progressive as it is - has put us into a downward spiral, and it's going to be difficult to get us out of this hole."
Marshall County resident Jerry Stephens said he made the trip to Steubenville because he "wanted to hear what Rick Santorum had to say."
"He is the most conservative candidate," Stephens said. "Did you notice he didn't read his speech from any paper, and he had no teleprompter?"