Paul speaks at Sebree,Ky
Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Rand Paul visited the Big Rivers Electric plant near Sebree Wednesday to "steadfastly oppose" any form of a "carbon tax" on coal.
Cap and trade legislation, which would set up a trading system to allow greenhouse gas emissions, has passed the U.S. House of Representatives, although Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday it's "deader than a doornail" in the Senate.
However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has intimated it may impose such a system through administrative regulations.
"I think un-elected bureaucrats should not write laws," Paul said during a press conference in front of the Big Rivers power plant.
"People are still talking about some form of a carbon tax. Any form of a carbon tax will not be good for Kentucky.
"Joblessness across Kentucky is at a significant high. People are suffering. The current administration, President Obama and the national Democrats, do not get it. They do not get it that cap and trade will kill industry in Kentucky."
About 1,600 jobs are at the aluminum smelters here and in Hawesville, he said, and another 5,000 jobs probably depend on those aluminum jobs. The aluminum smelters cannot afford higher electric rates, nor can consumers, he said.
And there's no need to skewer the coal industry, he said. While the federal government has a legitimate interest in reducing pollution that crosses state lines, he maintained the exact extent of the problem has been exaggerated. "Some of these scientists had their conclusions drawn before they came up with their facts."
Asked if climate change were real, he replied, "It's complicated. Anyone who makes an absolute conclusion is probably overstating their conclusion."
Paul said while "we should always strive for less pollution, we're cleaner than we ever have been. Air today is 30 percent cleaner than it was in 1960. We've gotten a lot better.
"Nobody's for pollution. We all want to minimize pollution. But unless we want to go back to burning candles or riding bikes ... it's a balancing act between jobs and advanced civilization."