Rand Paul: Mine safety regulations aren’t needed since “no one will apply” for jobs at dangerous mines


United Mine Workers members respond below.

Kentucky’s extremist GOP Senate candidate, Rand Paul, has said, “I believe business should be left alone from government.” That even extends to his state’s own accident prone mines, as TP reports:

In April, two miners were killed at the Dotiki Mine in Western Kentucky after the mine’s roof collapsed. The non-union mine had been cited for 840 safety violations by federal inspectors since 2009, and the Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing issued 31 orders to close sections of the mine or to shut down equipment during the same period. But when asked about the incident, Kentucky’s Republican Senate candidate, Rand Paul, said “maybe sometimes accidents happen.” And as it turns out, Paul doesn’t believe that the federal government has any responsibility at all to set safety standards to protect mine workers:

“The bottom line is: I’m not an expert, so don’t give me the power in Washington to be making rules,” Paul said at a recent campaign stop in response to questions about April’s deadly mining explosion in West Virginia”¦”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.

As Amanda Terkel pointed out, a bunch of dirty coal groups lobbying for looser regulations have banded together to form a 527 to elect industry-friendly Republicans. One of the candidates they intend to back is, of course, Rand Paul. The Wonk Room takes a further look at how Paul’s positions favor law-breaking corporations over the safety of workers.

— This is a Think Progress cross-post.

The AP reports, “Paul’s Regulation Comments Irk Miners“:

Kentucky coal miners are criticizing Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul for suggesting that Congress shouldn’t be making mine safety rules.

United Mine Workers members told reporters Tuesday that miners depend on federal regulations to prevent injuries and deaths.

Miner Bernie Alvey says mining catastrophes “always bring on new laws that keep the rest of us safe later on.”

Paul’s campaign responded that he doesn’t want to exclude the federal government but wants more state and local control over mine safety.

Paul said in the August issue of Details magazine that since he’s “not an expert,” he shouldn’t be given the “power in Washington to be making (mining) rules.” Paul gave the interview in May before he won the Kentucky Republican primary

Related Post: Rand Paul refuses to say how old the earth is: “I think I’m just gonna have to pass on that one”

30 Responses to Rand Paul: Mine safety regulations aren’t needed since “no one will apply” for jobs at dangerous mines

  1. homunq says:

    Stupid, stupid dead coal miners!

    This guy puts the worst Dickens villains to shame.

  2. SecularAnimist says:

    Rand Paul said: “The bottom line is: I’m not an expert, so don’t give me the power in Washington to be making rules.”

    Fair enough. So don’t give him the power to go to Washington and make rules. Vote for his opponent.

  3. homunq says:

    ‘I am glad to hear it,’ said Bounderby. ‘Now, you have heard a lot of talk about the work in our mills, no doubt. You have? Very good. I’ll state the fact of it to you. It’s the pleasantest work there is, and it’s the lightest work there is, and it’s the bestpaid work there is. More than that, we couldn’t improve the mills themselves, unless we laid down Turkey carpets on the floors. Which we’re not a-going to do.’

    ‘Mr. Bounderby, perfectly right.’

    ‘Lastly,’ said Bounderby, ‘as to our Hands. There’s not a Hand in this town, sir, man, woman, or child, but has one ultimate object in life. That object is, to be fed on turtle soup and venison with a gold spoon. Now, they’re not a-going – none of ’em – ever to be fed on turtle soup and venison with a gold spoon. And now you know the place.’

    [JR: Nice. The thing to remember is that the other extremists, like Sharron Angle, say that the people who are unemployed are too lazy to find a job. So whether you are working in unsafe mine or not sufficiently desperate to work in unsafe mine, the Tea Party has got your back — with a knife!]

  4. homunq says:

    “The bottom line is: I’m not an expert, so don’t give me the power in Washington to be UNmaking rules.”

    See Mr. Paul? It works both ways.

  5. lizardo says:

    Too funny! Keep that mike in his face, folks.

  6. Peter Mizla says:

    The Men & Women of Appalachia have always had hard times economically

    the inability for this Geographic region to diversify its economy is well known. The jobs in coal- as much as they are abhorrent to us here are all they have. Give these people the safety they deserve.

  7. Dano says:

    I just returned from that area, and I tell you that the place is (again) devastated economically and folks are going away from their families to take distant gas drilling jobs. They’ll do pretty much anything to get some money. To say otherwise is shockingly ignorant.

    I agree with several comments above: keep talking, son.



  8. Patrick says:

    I have not worked in a mine of any sort. However I have worked as a mechanic in a shop that had unsafe lifts. The fact that one of these lifts broke with a vehicle in the air is sufficient evidence that this state of affairs was not existing only in my own mind. Dispite the fact that the lifts were in a poor state of repair, my co-workers continued to use them. Why? Well because they new full well that it was not, and is not easy to find a job. Further an unsafe work place is not a sure and certain path to the grave. Your odds of ending up dead at the end of the day don’t seem too bad.

    In the event when the rusted weakened cable (which holds the entire weight of the vehicle) parted the vehicle did not fall on the mechanic’s head. Lifts have a fail safe device to prevent this. These fail safe devices are large pawls which engage upon two notched bars. During a failure both of these pawls are supposed to engage. What instead happened was that only one of the two pawls did their job. So the vehicle slid over and was held in place by the lift pilar on one side, and by the lift arms on the other side. Some damage was done to the vehicle, but no one died.

    After this I kept my eyes open and found another lift which was ready to fail, but also had an archaic safety design that needed to be engaged by the user. People being what they are this has a predictable result. It does not get done.

    That this story does not end with some one being injured, or killed is in part due to the intervention of the union, which resulted in needed repairs being done, and in OSHA type inspections being done.

    With the down turn in the economy I was the first of four workers out the door. That this was so had something to do with my having the highest pay rate for my job. That I called attention to unsafe working conditions had nothing at all to do with no longer having a job at that company. I know this because in America people don’t end up without a job for telling the truth.

  9. Patrick says:

    that should have been knew not “new”.

  10. This is a classic example of a market failure. Market theory assumes perfect knowledge, but in reality, miners cannot detect many potential dangers in mines they work in. Because they lack this knowledge, they cannot refuse to work in dangerous mines.

    Given the conflict between reality and market ideology, Rand Paul goes with the ideology.

  11. Lewis W. says:

    MEN ( — 4827 of 5214 fatalities) take dangerous jobs all the time. The question mines and most dangerous workplaces ask is if it is cheaper to make the mine safe or to increase the wage so that men will take the job despite it being dangerous.

    It is rhetorical nonsense to even suggest that a coal company couldn’t find workers for a dangerous mine.

  12. cervantes says:

    Yeah well this delusional clown has a big lead in the polls. The people of Kentucky are set to make him a United States Senator, by a landslide.

    That’s a fact.

  13. Rob Honeycutt says:

    This is the biggest =facepalm= statement I’ve read in weeks.

  14. Mike says:

    Kentucky Senate: Paul (R) 49% Conway (D) 41%
    July 21, 2010

    Republican Rand Paul continues to hold a modest lead over Democrat Jack Conway.
    The latest Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey of Likely Voters shows Paul picking up 49% of the vote, while Conway earns support from 41%. Four percent (4%) would prefer another candidate, while six percent (6%) more are not sure.

    Aug 2:
    A week before the traditional start of the fall campaign in Kentucky, Republican Rand Paul leads Democrat Jack Conway by eight percentage points in the U.S. Senate race, according to the latest Courier-Journal/WHAS11 Bluegrass Poll.


    Note: The seat was held by a retiring Republican.

  15. john atcheson says:

    The reason Paul is ahead in the polls is because voters have not been given a choice. For three decades, their choice has been limited to extreme right-wing hacks or slightly less right wing Democrats — or at least the debate has been confined to that universe of “ideas.”

    In any debate, if only one side shows up, it will win.

    Now it might take a few elections, but if Democrats start channeling FDR on the importance of government in constraining the real threat to Democracy — corporate hegemony — then eventually we will start winning, and we will win as Democrats, not as Republican lites.

  16. Rick Covert says:

    Thoroughly Repugnant Politician of the Month: Enter Rand Paul who actually believes that miners will not work in mines that are unsafe. I have 29 reasons why he’s wrong. Here they are: Massey West Branch Mine Disaster Roll Call: Christopher Bell, Edward Dean Jones, Ronald Lee Maynor, Joe Marcum, Greg Brock, William “Griff” Griffith, Ricky Workman, Howard “Boone” Payne Jr., Steven J. Harrah, Benny Ray Willingham, Carl “Pee Wee” Acord, Deward Allan Scott, Robert E. Clark, William R. Lynch, Jason Atkins, Joe Price, Mike Elswick, Adam Morgan, Tim Davis, Cory Davis, Richard Lane, Rex Mullins, Nick McCroskey, Josh Napper, Dillard Persinger, Gary Wayne Quarles, Grover Skeens, Kenneth Chapman and James Mooney.

  17. cervantes says:

    Well, Jack Conway isn’t exactly Bernie Sanders, but he does support the EFCA, he’s in favor of letting Medicare negotiate for lower drug prices, he’s a staunch defender of social security and supports allowing a Medicare buy-in (that’s the hippiecommiepinko position on health care), and supports legal abortion.

    For Kentucky, that’s pretty darn FDR if you ask me.

  18. George says:

    As stupid and misguided as Rand’s statements are I have come to realize that states like Kentucky have a penchant for electing such extremists. I do not think 2010 will disappoint in that regard.

  19. BrockSamson says:

    Guys like Rand crack me up.

    “Government is bad and should be out of our lives! Vote me into the government so I can do nothing on your behalf!”

  20. Edward says:

    Vote against Rand Paul.

  21. homunq says:

    Sorry to go back to Dickens and Bounderby, but actually, there’s a fascinating quote right before the one I pulled above:

    “‘Coketown, sir,’ said Bounderby, obstinately taking a chair, ‘is not the kind of place you have been accustomed to. Therefore, if you will allow me – or whether you will or not, for I am a plain man – I’ll tell you something about it before we go any further.’

    Mr. Harthouse would be charmed.

    ‘Don’t be too sure of that,’ said Bounderby. ‘I don’t promise it. First of all, you see our smoke. That’s meat and drink to us. It’s the healthiest thing in the world in all respects, and particularly for the lungs. If you are one of those who want us to consume it, I differ from you. We are not going to wear the bottoms of our boilers out any faster than we wear ’em out now, for all the humbugging sentiment in Great Britain and Ireland.'”

    I don’t perfectly understand the talk of “consume it” and “bottoms of our boilers”, but it looks as if there was a problem with dirtier smoke due to incomplete combustion, and some known way to prevent that which resulted in minor extra costs. And of course, the industrialists of the day successfully resisted any appeals to their conscience using patently antiscientific claims, and legislation on such a matter was unthinkable at the time.

    It shouldn’t surprise me that the same issues, the same it-worked-yesterday-so-damned-if-I’ll-change attitude, has been part of capitalism from its very inception with the industrial revolution. But still, it’s incredible how seamlessly Bounderby would fit in among today’s tycoons.

  22. Rob Honeycutt says:

    A great site to watch for election information is Nate Silver puts KY as leaning toward Paul, but not a shoe in. Rand Paul has plenty of opportunity to shoot himself in the foot between now and the election.

    Silver also puts a 17% chance that the Senate will change over to Republican hands.

  23. Lou Grinzo says:

    File this post (and the news that Paul is ahead of anyone with a pulse in any state in the US) under: “This week’s sign that the apocalypse is upon us.”

  24. Wow! What an incredible dimwit. And he may still be elected.

    Well, I am from deep southern Illinois — coal country, too.

    They strip mined the whole region. Nothing left. No usable ground, nothin’ but weeds grow in it.

    The political corruption is appalling there. The only jobs left are at the prisons that have sprouted up like mushrooms.

  25. Glenn Magus Harvey says:

    Perfect line from Mr. Paul.

    “The bottom line is: I’m not an expert, so don’t give me the power in Washington to be making rules.”

    Awesome! I’ll make sure not to vote for you, then!

  26. Glenn Magus Harvey says:

    Re #20: “Government is bad and should be out of our lives! Vote me into the government so I can do nothing on your behalf!”

    Well, apart from spending taxpayer dollars to pay his own salary.

  27. Elizabeth says:

    I believe there is still hope for us in Kentucky. Many groups here including the KEA (Kentucky Education Association) are endorsing Jack Conway, who would be an excellent choice for US senator. Now is the best chance that we Kentuckians have had in years to elect a democrat to that position.

    Rand Paul is an embarrassment to us, and I hope Kentuckians will heed his advise and NOT send him to Washington. However, he’s raking in money from tea partiers all across the country.

    If anyone’s interested in helping to defeat Paul and elect someone with some intelligence, go to

  28. Bob Doublin says:

    #3 A wonderful quote: I live in Seattle, a supposedly LIBERAL city.I work Downtown.It struck me last year how, except for a slight change in cut and style, the homeless and poor are dressed in the same rags and look about as healthy as to FIT RIGHT IN to any street scene from 1840’s Dickensian,Victorian London (I know about the alcoholism but did they have as bad a drug problem then?)
    It also struck me as being EXACTLY what these conservative and Libertarian assholes want for Amerika:they LUST for returning to the days of the 1840’s. Be thankful you’re spared the ravings of TeaBagger Clint Didier-one of Washington’s Republican candidates for Senate. His truly Nazi-like comments on not allowing weak people to continue to survive. Wow,disgusting but MAINSTREAM Teabagger thinking.

  29. Bob Doublin says:

    #22: Anyone here familiar with the plight of chimney sweeps in the early 19th cent (unlike the Disney version in Mary Poppins, they were very young boys) And the rantings Jeremy Bentham (one of the DARLINGS of the Libertarians except when they criticized him for NOT being a big enough supporter of the free market)made against any action whatever the government might take to alleviate the truly HELLISH conditions they slaved (the only word for it) under?