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

This post originally appeared on Think Progress. 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.
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