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Senate gives a final thumbs-up to environmental regulations overhaul

A bill called job creation by its supporters and destructive of the environment by its opposition was given final approval by the Senate early Friday.

House Bill 74, which passed in a 27-14 vote, still needs one last vote from the House later on Friday morning.

Environmental advocates also were concerned about a provision that expands the area in which coal-ash-storing facilities are allowed to pollute without needing to remove the contaminants, which include arsenic, lead and mercury. Mary Maclean Asbill, a senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center, said the contaminated water could reach Charlotte's drinking supply.

But a bill sponsor, Rep. Ruth Samuelson of Charlotte, a Republican, said the provision merely codifies already existing language in the law.

Other provisions stops counties and municipalities from creating environmental ordinances that are more stringent than state or federal ones, allow students to have lawyers present when they get in trouble with their college or university and mandate carbon monoxide detectors.


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