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Rand Paul is pushing to repeal the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) latest ruling, which puts carbon dioxide emissions limits on power plants, on the grounds that it is an “illegal use of executive power.”

“This latest assault on our economy by President Obama will destroy jobs here in Kentucky and across the country, and will hurt middle class families by hiking their utility bills and straining their budgets,” Paul said in a statement. “The excessive rule is an illegal use of executive power, and I will force a vote to repeal it,” he added.

Paul did say back in 2008 that coal was “probably one of the least favorable forms of energy” and “a very dirty form of energy.” He also hinted that he’d like the U.S. to go in the direction of nuclear power, like the nearly oil independent France, when a safe opportunity to do so arises.

Yahoo’s Chris Moody noted that a spokesman for Rand Paul said in 2010 — when Trey Grayson used the above clip to smear his opponent — that the senator “supports using what coal we have here until a better energy source comes along.”

A Republican National Committee (RNC) press release titled “Obama Gets His War on Coal, but it’s the American Economy that Will Pay the Price” joined the Kentucky Senator in condemning the changes, but particularly from an economic perspective, rather than a legal one.

Perhaps then it is not that Rand Paul suddenly finds coal to be a clean form of energy, but that illegal means do not justify a clean energy end that will cost the economy $50 billion per year and kill 224,000 jobs annually — many of which would come from his own constituency.

Kentucky is the country’s third largest coal producing state.

The Daily Caller’s Michael Bastasch pointed to the Chamber of Commerce’s projections for the economy as a result of the rule that seeks to cut carbon dioxide emissions 30 percent by 2030.

“Overall, the South Atlantic will be hit the hardest in terms of GDP and employment declines. Its GDP losses make up about one-fifth of total U.S.,” Bastasch wrote. “This region also will have an average of 60,000 fewer jobs over the 2014-30 forecast period, hitting a 171,000 job loss trough in 2022.”

Currently, Republicans are generally arguing that the EPA rule is anti-coal, while Democrats like Harry Reid have said that “coal makes you sick.” Neither are unfounded claims.

A recent Wall Street Journal article written by researchers argued that “the assertion that 97% of scientists believe that climate change is a man-made, urgent problem is a fiction,” finding numerous flaws in the sampling data used to get that number.

Black Lung has killed at least 76,000 coal miners since 1968.

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