By Matt DeLong

Washington Post | August 2, 2o1o

In a new profile in Details magazine, Kentucky GOP Senate candidate Rand Paul is quoted arguing that the coal mining industry should be allowed to self-regulate without interference from the federal government. Here's a quote from a speech Paul gave recently at a coal facility operated by a subsidiary of Massey Energy, the owner of the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia, where an explosion killed 29 miners in April.

"Is there a certain amount of accidents and unfortunate things that do happen, no matter what the regulations are?" Paul says at the Harlan Center*, in response to a question about the Big Branch disaster. "The bottom line is I'm not an expert, so don't give me the power in Washington to be making rules. You live here, and you have to work in the mines. You'd try to make good rules to protect your people here. If you don't, I'm thinking that no one will apply for those jobs."

Paul also said that the practice of mountaintop removal mining simply needs to be rebranded.

"I think they should name it something better," he says. "The top ends up flatter, but we're not talking about Mount Everest. We're talking about these little knobby hills that are everywhere out here. And I've seen the reclaimed lands. One of them is 800 acres, with a sports complex on it, elk roaming, covered in grass." Most people, he continues, "would say the land is of enhanced value, because now you can build on it."

* This post has been corrected to note that the Harlan Center is operated by a subsidiary of Massey Energy.