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Thursday November 10, 2011 | 04:05 PM

As expected, GOP Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine voted today against a proposal to block a federal rule cracking down on such cross-state emissions.

Meanwhile, Collins voted today for a bill giving employers tax credits for hiring veterans and repealing a three percent withholding tax on government contractors. The veterans hiring provision was part of President Obama’s original jobs package. The bill passed 95-0, but Snowe voted present, saying that while she supported the bill she doesn't take a position on legislation that includes funds that go toward higher education because her husband, former Maine Gov. John McKernan, heads a for-profit college company, Education Management. The bill included some money for veterans to go back to school for retraining purposes.

Collins and Snowe were among six Republicans to break party ranks and vote against the resolution authored by GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky that sought to block an Environmental Protection Agency rule limiting the amount of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide that can be emitted by power plants and which wind up drifting into other states. Both announced their position on the Paul proposal earlier this week.

While Collins and Snowe are proponents of scaling back or eliminating a number of federal regulations that they consider too burdensome and costly, both Maine Republicans said the benefits of the federal rule limiting the air pollution that can arrive in Maine from 28 other states outweighs the regulatory costs.


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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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