PORTLAND  — The Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to ease up on regulating global warming pollution from biomass energy plants is winning praise from members of Maine’s congressional delegation.

Sen. Olympia Snowe says the EPA’s decision on Wednesday was “welcome news to Maine’s economy.” She said biomass “provides Americans with clean and renewable energy.”

The EPA said it would issue a new rule July 1 to exclude biomass from regulations requiring large polluters to reduce their heat-trapping pollution for three years.

Rep. Mike Michaud said the regulations as initially proposed “would have had a chilling effect on the expansion of this renewable source of energy.” Sen. Susan Collins said the agency’s old rules could have resulted in the loss of jobs, “leading to mill and plant closings and discouraging employers from investing in mills.”

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