Rand Paul Mistakenly Claims Coal Is Kentucky's Biggest Industry In Ashley Judd Criticism

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) criticized actress, activist and potential Democratic candidate Ashley Judd Wednesday, calling her "way damn too liberal" for Kentucky because of her opposition to mountaintop removal mining.

"She hates our biggest industry, which is coal," Paul said. "I say, good luck bringing the 'I hate coal' message to Kentucky."

But Paul's criticism wasn't totally correct -- coal mining is actually the 13th biggest industry in the Bluegrass State.

According to data pulled from BEA.gov by James E. Carter IV, the biggest industry in Kentucky is manufacturing.

Paul supports mountaintop removal mining, which involves removing the top portion of a mountain to more easily reach coal seams that lie beneath. The surface mining method has received criticism thanks to pollution problems and the destruction caused by removing the mountaintops, among other issues.

Paul once argued the process "enhanced" mountains because the reclaimed lands offered more value than "knobby" untouched mountaintops.

"I think they should name it something better," Paul said in an interview with Details magazine. "The top ends up flatter, but we're not talking about Mount Everest. We're talking about these little knobby hills that are everywhere out here. And I've seen the reclaimed lands. One of them is 800 acres, with a sports complex on it, elk roaming, covered in grass... [people] would say the land is of enhanced value, because now you can build on it."

Judd is reportedly exploring a Senate run against Senator Mitch McConnell (R).



Major American Mine Disasters