Republicans cozy up to coal on a dirty, deadly day

Rand Paul at Louisville Town Hall

Image by Rand Paul for U.S. Senate 2010 via Flickr

Ron Paul’s son Rand is a leading Senate candidate in Kentucky’s Republican primary, campaigning against change (he’s not averse to riding change’s coattails, though: he’s the latest to swipe his campaign’s Web design from Barack Obama).

Currently on a “Tea Party Bus Tour,” Rand Paul is attacking the Environmental Protection Agency, calling the agency “out of control” because it possesses the power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

On Sunday Paul asked, “Where do they get the authority to be a lawmaking body?”

He knows the answer, surely–Congress is the lawmaking body that passed the Clean Air Act, the Supreme Court is the judicial body that affirmed its applicability to greenhouse gases, and the EPA is the executive body bound to enforce that law, though it has not yet done so.

Rand Paul is less interested in those details than in mining votes from Kentucky’s 17,000 coal workers and their kith and kin. So he and other Republican candidates slammed the EPA during a debate Sunday night at at Union College in Barbourville, Ky.

A few hours later, a Chinese coal freighter slammed into the Great Barrier Reef near Australia, where it remains, leaking oil into one of the world’s most fragile and vital ecosystems. Then a coal mine collapsed in Montcoal, West Virginia, killing at least 25 miners, with four still missing.

Meanwhile in northern China, 115 coal miners were rescued after a week in a flooded mine. Thirty-eight miners remain missing there. The rescue was unexpected good news in China, where seven coal miners die every day, according to The New York Times.

These miners are dying–sealife, too–for a dirty resource that could be replaced with cleaner alternatives if it weren’t so valuable to mine owners and politicians, and if miners weren’t so desperate for what  scrapings trickle down to them.

That’s the desperation Rand Paul hopes to ride into the Senate. If he doesn’t win the Kentucky primary, Trey Grayson probably will. The favorite of Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin, Grayson’s coal politics are no cleaner than Paul’s. He has vowed to stop “the EPA’s attempt to regulate coal out of existence,” calling it “a war on all of Kentucky.”

To wage war on the EPA, these candidates wage war on truth. Coal, meanwhile, continues to wage war on life.

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