Friday, June 11, 2010

When It Comes To Energy Policy And Worker Safety, Rand Paul Is Living In 1936

Although Rand Paul's habit of revealing way too much about his, um, quirky beliefs has only recently captured the national spotlight, that doesn't mean Mr. Paul's runaway mouth is a new thing.

Take this wide-randing February interview with the Middlesboro Daily News (KY), in which Paul discusses - among many, many other things - his views on America's energy policy. In particular, he seems to think that regulating coal mining for safety and health is a gross abuse of the federal government's power:

Rand Paul: I would say that my energy policy is let the marketplace decide through capitalism. So it shouldn’t be me saying: ‘I like wind mills and I hate coal, so therefore I’m going to give all these benefits to wind mills and punish coal.’ That’s kind of what I think the Obama administration is doing. Mine would be more of: let’s step back and let the marketplace decide. Coal’s still pretty cheap and it’s a cheap form of producing electricity. As far as the mining aspect of it, it should be decided in Perry county and Pike county and all these individual counties should make the rules for how the mining occurs. I don’t think Washington should have anything to do with the mining.

Middlesboro Daily News: But Washington has since before the Obama administration.

Rand Paul: Dating all the way back to 1936 with the Carter Coal Company days. I think that it was a wrong trend to allow the government to become more involved so I would try to reverse that trend. Can we make it exactly like it was? No, but my overall philosophy as a Republican would be to give more local control, not federal control.
In so many words, Mr. Paul seems to be is saying that he wishes the U.S. could return to the halcyon days of 1936, when coal barons ran roughshod over local governments that were too corrupt or dependent on the coal companies to do anything to ensure worker or environmental safety.

Why? Apparently because Mr. Paul has quite the soft spot for corporations whose coal mining and oil drilling operations cause accidents. Said Paul of the disastrous BP oil spill:
“I think that sounds really un-American in [President Obama's] criticism of business. I’ve heard nothing from BP about not paying for the spill. And I think it’s part of this sort of blame-game society in the sense that it’s always got to be someone’s fault instead of the fact that sometimes accidents happen.”
And the recent deadly accident at a Massey coal mine in West Virginia?
Mr. Paul seemed to thread the blame-game theme over into the Massey mining accident in West Virginia. “We had a mining accident that was very tragic,” he said. “Then we come in, and it’s always someone’s fault. Maybe sometimes accidents happen.”
Rand Paul: working to make 1930s energy and worker safety policies the new gold standard for America in the 21st century.