AUGUSTA – U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins both said they were disappointed by Senate Democratic leaders’ recent decision to set aside plans for comprehensive climate-change legislation.

The Maine Republicans had supported limited or modified plans to cap and tax certain carbon emissions, despite nearly unified opposition by the rest of their party.

Snowe recently said she would consider supporting such a tax if applied only to utility plants. Collins drafted legislation last year that would have applied a carbon tax on a wider range of carbon dioxide emissions, then returned 75 percent of that money to taxpayers.

“As I have long called for, I believe we should have integrated our nation’s economic well-being as a top priority along with the reduction of carbon emissions,” Snowe said in a statement Friday. Snowe said she recommended to President Barack Obama that Maine’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative be applied to the rest of the country.

“It is regrettable that this sensible and practical concept was not endorsed earlier by the administration and Democratic leadership, and I will continue to work toward common-sense legislation that avoids costly requirements that do little to reduce carbon emissions,” she said.

Collins said Democratic leaders should have negotiated with Republicans while drafting their climate proposal. “I am disappointed that (Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid) once again has chosen to bypass the committee process and draft a bill behind closed doors without Republican participation,” she said in a statement Friday. “(U.S.) Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and I introduced our bipartisan clean-energy legislation last December. I believe our bill positions the U.S. to be a leader in renewable energy and energy conservation technologies and would prompt the creation of new ‘green energy’ jobs.”

Snowe and Collins were recently named two of the “greenest” Senate Republicans by the group Republicans for Environmental Protection.

They also were recognized Friday by the Natural Resources Council of Maine, which issued a statement saying they “have demonstrated leadership and are committed to the issues of clean energy and climate.”