Santorum goes after Romney on energy, climate change

Romney has taken flak from conservatives for his stance on climate change in recent months.

He said in October that he does not know what is causing climate change. But Romney raised eyebrows in Republican circles in June when he said human beings were partly responsible for climate change, bucking the position of many in his party.

A vast majority of the world’s scientists say climate change is occurring in large part due to human activity, mainly the burning of fossil fuels.

As Massachusetts governor, Romney initially backed creation of a regional cap-and-trade system for power plants among Northeast and mid-Atlantic states, but backed away before the program launched.

His successor, Gov. Deval Patrick (D), signed Massachusetts up for the ongoing Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

Santorum called man-made global warming a “façade” during his speech Friday, lamenting what he called the “politicization of science.”

Plans by the Obama administration to regulate climate change at the Environmental Protection Agency “will destroy the very foundation of prosperity in our country,” Santorum said.

He also took aim at critics of the drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” in which sand, water and chemicals are injected into the ground to gain access to valuable natural gas supplies. Natural gas drilling is a major industry in Pennsylvania, Santorum’s home state.

“Now that we’re doing hydro-fracking near the population centers, the bogeyman comes out. ‘Wooo, look at what it’s going to do to you,’” Santorum said.

“They scare you and they intimidate you to trust them to give them more power.”

Fracking critics say the drilling method threatens water supplies, and a recent Environmental Protection Agency draft study said fracking likely caused groundwater contamination in Wyoming. 

— Ben Geman contributed to this story.