Rand Paul: Preventing Black Lung Too “Burdensome” To Energy Companies

Republican Senator Rand Paul has made it repeatedly clear that he sides with businesses when it comes to absolutely any sort of financial policy or regulation — be it taxes or toilets.  Still, even his own home state of Kentucky seemed somewhat shocked when he stated that there is no reason to continue with any policies to help decrease the instances of black lung among coal miners, declaring any intervention or government regulation too “burdensome” on companies in comparison to the amount of lives it could potentially save.

The Courier-Journal reports:

Sen. Rand Paul questioned the need Thursday for new federal new coal-mining rules to reduce black-lung disease, despite federal figures showing the illness has been on the rise in recent years, killing about 1,500 miners annually.

The Kentucky Republican, a frequent critic of government regulations, said during a Senate hearing that black-lung rates had dropped dramatically since 1969, when a law to combat the illness took effect.

“Every regulation doesn’t save lives,” Paul said at a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. “There is a point or a balancing act between when a regulation becomes burdensome and our energy production is stifled. We have to assess the cost.”

Paul said during the hearing that the government had done “a pretty good job” in recent decades of reducing the incidence of black lung — an often incurable and fatal disease caused by breathing years of coal dust.

But figures from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health show a spike in black lung rates in recent years.

Black lung kills approximately 1000 miners per year, and the number of cases have doubled since 1995, when the Coal Mine Health and Safety Act was repealed.  According to the paper,  Paul received $136,277 in campaign contributions from mining interests during his senate run.

How high do the deaths need to rise before Paul finds the cost of additional regulation to be worth the number of lives it could save?


photo from Gage Skidmore


nancy dukewich
nancy B8 years ago

This moron thinks it would be a burden to companies. I say send him AND his family into the coal mines on a daily basis for at least two years. Then let's see what he has to say. Don't let them use any breathing apparatus so they can breathe in the coal.

Debra K.
Debra K8 years ago

Oh, and one other thing, I wonder who's deep pocket this vermin is feeding out of.

Debra K.
Debra K8 years ago

Maybe we should send this guy down a coal mine for 10 or 20 years and see how he likes not having any resources for fighting the black lung he will most likely develop as a result of the ignorance and greed of the people in big business and in our government.

Karen F.
karen Friedman8 years ago

What is this guys problem! He is a danger to us all and a far right wing wacko, like the rest of the Republican Tea Party.

Beth B.
Beth B.8 years ago

This man so obviously has"issues" with just about everything. I think he is a sociopath that needs serious therapy or to be locked up. Who voted for this cretin?!!

James B.
Jay B8 years ago

Opposing health regulations that would help protect people is certainly odd when comes from the mouth of a DOCTOR ? I suppose it's more important not to have "regulation" than it is to protect ones health. Go figure!

Jennifer H.
Jennifer Ho8 years ago

Blaming government is inappropriate- government regulations to coal mining industry was saving lives, the repeal in 1995 helped industry not workers. Republicans who side with industry and blame government for economic woes, then allow industry to put profit over caring for the workers is to blame. Voters need to wake up and stop electing idiots who take away their rights

Diane G.
Diane G8 years ago

This says it all about our government.

Claire T.
Claire T8 years ago

Rand Paul appears to be 'heart'-less himself. And not very smart to boot. I do not mean to ignore the suffering of the miners, their families, and friends, but isn't the health cost pretty expensive? Oh, wait, I suppose the companies can put that on a different line item in their ledgers than the cost of more safety controls in the mines.

Sonia R.
Sonia R8 years ago

People before profits!