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NC Senate bill would roll back environmental rules

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

A bill eliminating state and local environmental regulations that are tougher than federal requirements is headed for a Senate vote.

The Senate Commerce Committee on Thursday approved a bill its sponsors say will make the state more business-friendly. The bill requires cities, counties and numerous state environmental agencies to repeal or rewrite rules that go beyond federal law.

Some Democratic lawmakers argue the bill takes away flexibility to address local needs. Republican bill sponsors argued federal law already accounts for regional differences.

The section directing state agencies to review existing regulations appeared in the latest committee version of the bill. The Southern Environmental Law Center asked legislators to delay to allow time to review those and other changes.

It passed on a voice vote with some opposition.

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