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Thursday September 22, 2011 | 02:27 PM

A House GOP bill blocking new pollution standards on power plant mercury emissions and power plant emissions that cross state lines is “bad for business, bad for our health and bad for the state of Maine,” says Rep. Chellie Pingree.

The Maine Democrat of the 1st congressional district took to the House floor today as debate started on the House GOP-authored Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation, dubbed the TRAIN Act. The proposal also would require federal agencies do new analyses of the costs of environmental regulations.

Proponents say excessive regulations are choking off job creation, while opponents of the TRAIN Act say proponents are not taking into account the economic and health benefits of clean air standards.

The TRAIN Act is expected to pass the Republican-controlled House, but Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Cal., the chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and other Democrats are expected to kill the bill in the Senate. President Obama also has issued a veto threat if it were to reach his desk.

In her floor speech, Pingree noted that she met Wednesday with a Maine family, the Conleys, whose 11-year-old son Jake suffers from asthma. Mark and Lisa Conley and Jake participated in a news conference Wednesday with Boxer and the American Lung Association criticizing the House bill, and the family also met with a staffer to Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, to discuss a Collins bill seeking to delay new regulations on industrial boilers.

Saying that “Maine is the tail pipe of the nation for atmospheric pollution,” Pingree said that the new standards that the TRAIN bill seeks to block would mean “fewer kids and parents will struggle with the life-long costs of dirty air.”

Rep. Mike Michaud, D-2nd, also opposes the House GOP bill.

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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
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