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Thursday March 08, 2012 | 03:25 PM

The Senate rejected a bill today authored by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, that seeks to block new federal regulations limiting emissions from industrial boilers.

While 52 senators voted for the bill as an amendment to a pending transportation bill, it needed to reach a 60 vote threshold to pass. Among those voting in favor was Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine.

The bill would give the Environmental Protection Agency 15 months to re-examine the issue and come up with final rules. It would also extend compliance deadlines from three years to five.

Collins says the regulations will be expensive for businesses in Maine and elsewhere to comply with, and she isn’t satisfied with changes the Environmental Protection Agency already has agreed to make in how the rules are put into effect.

Proponents of the new rules say boilers spew mercury and other toxic emission that cause health problems such as asthma and premature deaths.

Collins’ bill to delay the new rules “would do far more damage than its proponents give it credit for,” said Ed Miller, Vice President of Health Promotion and Public Policy, American Lung Association of New England. “The (Collins) amendment would undermine the foundation of the Clean Air Act and put the health and prosperity of our children and grandchildren at significant risk.”

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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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