In a meeting with the Natural Resources and Environment Committee, Smith condemned the new carbon emission regulations set by the Obama administration in early June. He gave his reasons for deeming the regulations unnecessary.
"As you [Energy & Environment Cabinet official] sit there in your chair with your data, we sit up here in ours with our data and our constituents and stuff behind us. I won't get into the debate about climate change but I will just simply point out that I think in academia we all agree that the temperature on Mars is exactly as it is here. Nobody will dispute that. Yet there are no coal mines on Mars. There's no factories on Mars that I'm aware of."
But academia does, in fact, dispute his claim. According to NASA, the average temperature of the Earth is 57 degrees Fahrenheit, 138 degrees warmer than Mars' average temperature of -81 degrees Fahrenheit.
Smith is the owner of mining company Mohawk Energy. Coal is a large part of the economy in Kentucky and an industry both parties in the state want to protect.
Democratic state Rep. Kevin Sinnette said in the same meeting that dinosaurs survived climate change so it must not be real.
"The dinosaurs died, and we don't know why, but the world adjusted," Sinnette said. "And to say that this is what's going to cause detriment to people, I just don't think it's out there."
Kentucky's Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who is in a tight race with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, has also condemned the new regulations, saying, "Coal keeps the lights on in the Commonwealth, providing a way for thousands of Kentuckians to put food on their tables."
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