Republican efforts to limit the power of the Environmental Protection Agency during this year's budget debate have helped cement the environment as a partisan issue for the 2012 elections. Here’s a look at where some of the potential Republican White House contenders stand on environmental issues.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich
As speaker, Gingrich tried unsuccessfully to roll back several environmental laws that were passed during 1970s and championed the stance that environmental regulations have gone too far in restricting energy and economic growth.
During a recent speech at Salem State University in Massachusetts, Gingrich criticized Obama for supporting offshore drilling in Brazil while hindering American companies drilling in the United States. Gingrich stressed the need to use the maximum amount of American oil, natural gas, coal, and biofuel.
In recent years, Gingrich has urged conservatives not to leave the cause of environmentalism entirely to liberals, though he has called a federal tax on carbon "utterly irrational" and stated that there is no conclusive proof that humans are at the center of global warming. In 2008, Gingrich filmed an ad with then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., for Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection urging action on climate change. Gingrich has since tried to distance himself from the ad.