Haley Barbour: EPA Is Over-Regulating Coal

02/18/2011 08:45 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

LEXINGTON, Ky. — On a visit to coal country, potential Republican presidential candidate Haley Barbour says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is over-regulating coal.

The Mississippi governor spoke privately Thursday to a group of Kentucky coal executives. He told The Associated Press afterward that the EPA under the Obama administration is imposing impossibly strict environmental standards.

He called it a "deliberate way to try to halt coal mining, which would be catastrophic for Appalachian America."

Barbour was the first candidate pondering a run in next year's presidential race to reach out to Kentucky's coal operators.

Environmentalists say rather than bashing the agency, one remedy is to look at changing mine designs to prevent pollution.