Did the guy say it was specifically federal mining regulations that were his issue? I will have to rewatch to find out.
There are lots of other regulations and regulating bodies out there that business owners, including mining operators, have to deal with. And he may also have been using "regulations" as shorthand for other non-regulatory issues: state and/or local tax laws, health care laws, workers comp and other overhead cost increases, labor relations law, etc.
Pacowy, you seem to be dismissing out of hand what appeared to be a heartfelt and "off the cuff" statement by this guy. True, maybe it was all a show or there was some subterfuge involved, but there isn't any evidence of it beyond speculation as to the likely profitability of an underground mine in Alabama. Maybe the mining operation he had planned was not a big deal in the grand scheme, but it appears to have been a big deal to him and likely would have been a big deal to the people he would have hired and would have been a big deal to the downstream businesses he would have had to interact with for his equipment, supplies, insurance, payroll, etc.
And Richard, good point on the big guys using their lobbying power to get regulations and law on their side to snuff out small scale competition. Indeed there is also this phenomenon in the insurance industry, not as means to snuff out small scale competitors so much as to create greater and greater revenue streams for themselves. They get the reg put in place "for the children" or "because it is for the health of the people" or whatever, and now insurance is "mandated" to cover some greater (or lesser as the case may be) degree of treatment or repair or whatever. They have to jack their rates (but they really don't want to, you know), and simultaneously complain that it is the government mandated coverage minimums that are to blame. Been happening on small state level scale for years. And of course Obamacare was the mack daddy insurance company colluding with government scheme of them all. I'm not sure where the insurance companies ended up. At different times in the process some companies were on board, others were down on it, then it would flip the next week. Have to be thinking they are stoked at this point, at least until they get blamed for runaway costs under the new law and the feds try to nuke their industry with a "government" option, and then a single payer government run system.