Rand Paul Seeking Republican Nomination For President, Opposes Most EPA Regulations

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a first-term senator known for being unafraid to buck his party on some issues, has rarely strayed from near-universal Republican stances opposing Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

But some observers believe he has taken a more nuanced position on climate change that could serve him well if he becomes the Republican candidate for president in 2016.

Paul, who announced his candidacy for president April 7 in Louisville, Ky., has opposed EPA regulations to clarify the scope of the Clean Water Act and regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, and he previously said the agency has “done more harm than good” since its inception. 

In 2011, Paul led the charge to the Senate floor to void the EPA's cross-state air pollution rule, calling the final rule “overzealous” and urging a more “balanced approach.” The Kentucky Republican also has pushed legislation that would require all economically significant regulations to gain congressional approval. 

Despite those efforts—and Paul's 9 percent lifetime voting record from the League of Conservation Voters—he voted in January for an amendment to the Keystone XL pipeline bill stating that human activity contributes to climate change. While the amendment failed, observers said Paul's support for the measure is evidence of a more subtle approach to environmental issues should he become the Republican candidate for president.

“It’s something that could definitely help him in the general election, but in the primary they could tie him around the neck,” Ford O'Connell, a Republican strategist who advised Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) during his 2008 presidential run, told Bloomberg BNA.

Read more from Anthony Adragna and Rachel Leven at Bloomberg BNA

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