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RALEIGH, NC (AP) — The North Carolina Senate has again put its support behind allowing coastal regulators to approve putting hardened structures at the edge of coastal inlets to protect development along North Carolina’s barrier islands.

The Senate tentatively agreed Thursday by a 35-13 vote to end a 25-year ban on building new jetties, just as they did in 2009 and 2010. After one more vote the bill goes to the House, where supporters think they’ll have more support this year with the change in leadership.

The structures collect sand and block currents that might otherwise erode island edges. Sen. Harry Brown of Jacksonville says the bill has safeguards to ensure a jetty is necessary and is kept up over time.

Environmentalists say jetties are too expensive and shift sand to unintended locations.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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