Politics

Paul Calls White House Pressure On BP ‘Un-American,’ Says That ‘Sometimes Accidents Happen’

In an interview on ABC News’ Good Morning America today, host George Stephanopoulos pressed GOP Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul on “how far” he would “push” his anti-government views. Playing a clip of Paul telling Fox Business that he wants to “get rid of regulation” and “get the EPA out of our coal business down,” Stephanopoulos asked if Paul believed “the EPA should not be allowed to tell oil companies they can’t use certain chemicals to enforce safety regulations on that rig out there?” “No,” replied Paul, saying that he was referring to the EPA’s effort to regulate carbon emissions.

When Stephanopoulos followed up with a question about getting “rid of the EPA,” Paul defended BP’s response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill last month and attacked the Obama administration’s crackdown on the oil giant as “really un-American“:

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you don’t want to get rid of the EPA?

PAUL: No, the thing is is that drilling right now and the problem we’re having now is in international waters and I think there needs to be regulation of that and always has been regulation. What I don’t like from the president’s administration is this sort of, you know, “I’ll put my boot heel on the throat of BP.” I think that sounds really un-American in his 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 maybe sometimes accidents happen. I mean, we had a mining accident that was very tragic and I’ve met a lot of these miners and their families. They’re very brave people to do a dangerous job. But then we come in and it’s always someone’s fault. Maybe sometimes accidents happen.

Watch it:

Paul’s defense of BP comes a day after the oil giant finally released live video of the disaster site 5,000 feet below, drawing “scrutiny on BP’s claim of how many barrels of oil were leaking out daily.” “I think now we are beginning to understand that we cannot trust BP,” said Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA). On Wednesday, Purdue engineering professor Steve Wereley testified before the House Energy and Environment Subcommittee that BP was making false and misleading statements about the size of the spill.

Paul says that he’s “heard nothing from BP about not paying for the spill,” but McClatchy reported yesterday that BP’s low estimate of the spill’s size “could save the company millions of dollars in damages when the financial impact of the spill is resolved in court.” “It’s always a bottom-line issue,” said Marilyn Heiman, a former Clinton administration Interior Department official who now heads the Arctic Program for the Pew Environment Group.

Transcript:

STEPHANOPOULOS: But let’s move on because you also said something on…

PAUL: I know, and I’ve answered you. I’ve answered you that I’m not for repealing the Fair Housing Act.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Got it. Fox Business Network on January 22, 2010, you talk about government regulations and what you think should happen with government regulations. Take a look:

[VIDEO]

PAUL: Get rid of regulation. Get the EPA out of our coal business down here. Get OSHA out of our small businesses. We need to restrain government to let small businesses and business men and women create jobs.

[END VIDEO]

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, I want to see how far you would push that belief. You know, the front page of USA Today this morning we’ve been talking about it. EPA tells BP to use less toxic chemicals. Do you believe the EPA should not be allowed to tell oil companies they can’t use certain chemicals to enforce safety regulations on that rig out there?

PAUL: No, what I was referring to with the EPA is I find it particularly galling that the EPA puts out a press release and says that if Congress doesn’t do anything about greenhouse emissions that they will. I think that’s a regulatory commission run amok and I think we need to have congressional oversight. I don’t think regulatory agencies should write regulations without approval of the people through their representatives. And I stick to that and that’s absolutely my point of view.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you don’t want to get rid of the EPA?

PAUL: No, the thing is is that drilling right now and the problem we’re having now is in international waters and I think there needs to be regulation of that and always has been regulation. What I don’t like from the president’s administration is this sort of, you know, “I’ll put my boot heel on the throat of BP.” I think that sounds really un-American in his 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 maybe sometimes accidents happen. I mean, we had a mining accident that was very tragic and I’ve met a lot of these miners and their families. They’re very brave people to do a dangerous job. But then we come in and it’s always someone’s fault. Maybe sometimes accidents happen.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, you believe that the regulation of BP was adequate?

PAUL: I don’t know exactly what the regulation of BP is. I think there’s hundreds of pages of regulation of drilling in the ocean and I think most of that’s justified. I think we’ll have to figure out from this accident, is there anything that could have beend one to prevent it? What can we do in the future to make sure that it doesn’t happen again? So, I think we use logic. We use objective facts. And yeah, we try to go forward. Nobody wants this to happen. I love the beautiful beaches down in the panhandle of Florida and nobody wants to see oil washing up on those white sand beaches.