Politics & Government

At Mercer County event, Rand Paul criticizes president's rejection of oil pipeline

Rand Paul, a Bowling Green Republican, is Kentucky's junior U.S. senator.
Rand Paul, a Bowling Green Republican, is Kentucky's junior U.S. senator.

HARRODSBURG — U.S. Sen. Rand Paul said Thursday that President Obama is wrong to oppose the big oil pipeline that would go through the middle of the country.

"I think it's a huge disaster for the president to turn down the pipeline," Paul said at a Mercer County Chamber of Commerce luncheon. "It's a huge public-relations disaster. There are 20,000 jobs that would be created in the public sector. Energy jobs are good American jobs. They're good-paying jobs."

The plan by TransCanada Corp. would carry tar sands oil from western Canada through a 1,700-mile pipeline across six U.S. states to Texas refineries. On Wednesday, the Obama administration rejected plans for the $7 billion pipeline, saying there was not enough time for a fair review of an alternate route that would avoid a Nebraska aquifer.

"The pipeline should be a no-brainer," Paul added. "Organized labor is in favor of the pipeline. He's (Obama) catering to a very, very small set of environmental extremists. It's a bad issue for him but also bad for the country."

As in previous appearances, the Republican from Bowling Green spoke about how his office will return $500,000 to the U.S. treasury. The money was trimmed from his office's $3 million yearly budget.

Asked how his Senate colleagues reacted to the Treasury payment, Paul said he hasn't spoken with them because Congress has not been in session.

But he said other Senate and congressional offices should trim their budgets, too. "If we can find that much, there is no reason to keep giving it to me," Paul said.

In the same vein, Paul said he will introduce a bill that would provide incentives for government employees to receive bonuses if they can find savings in their programs.

"People are self-interested, and if you're a top-level government employee who might make $150,000 to $160,000 a year, I have no problem with giving you a 10 percent raise if you get a 10 percent savings in your budget," Paul said.