Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum says the federal government has gone too far in trying to protect endangered species by putting "critters above people."


At the Gulf Coast Energy Summit in Biloxi, Mississippi on Monday, the candidate was asked how he would balance the need for environmental protection with the desire for less regulation.

"What we have seen under this administration is a truly radical environmental agenda," Santorum replied. "The EPA, to even put forward the idea that CO2 is a toxin is just outrageous. It is non-scientific. I get a kick when I get questions from the press about conservatives being non-scientific, when you look point after point after point on the left and the politicization of science that goes on, the bending and the extremes the left goes to make some of these cost-benefit analyses that would not stand up under any type of common-sense test."

"On day one, I will repeal every one of those high-cost regulations being put in place by the Obama administration," he added.

Santorum went on to criticize former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's support for the Endangered Species Act, which prevents federal agencies from authorizing or funding any action that threatens endangered plants and animals.

"I was someone who supported, for example, changes to the Endangered Species Act," the former Pennsylvania senator explained. "Whereas as Speaker, Speaker Gingrich blocked any changes to the Endangered Species Act. He's one of the authors of the Endangered Species Act. He believes it was a valuable piece of legislation. It may have been, but it has been absolutely abused."

He continued: "I know that from personal experience in Pennsylvania, and look at the Central Valley of California. There are so many places that we put critters above people. 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."

Last month, Santorum accused President Barack Obama of having a theology that was not "based on the Bible," but later claimed that he wasn't questioning the president's belief in Christianity.

“I was talking about the radical environmentalists,” he told CBS host Bob Schieffer. “This idea that man is here to serve the Earth as opposed to husband its resources and be good stewards of the Earth. I think that is a phony ideal.”

“I accept the fact that the president’s a Christian. I just said when you have world view that elevates the Earth above man and says that we can’t take those resources because we’re going to harm the Earth like things that are not scientifically proven like the politicization of the whole global warming debate.”

Watch this video from CNN, broadcast March. 12, 2012.