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RALEIGH, NC (AP) — A state environmental program designed to protect residents from exposure to dangerous chemicals could get scaled back if some business interests and Republican legislators have their way.

The Legislature’s Environmental Review Commission is scheduled to discuss Thursday a draft proposal pushed by GOP lawmakers who want to curb what they call redundancies in dual state and federal air toxics programs that lead to additional business costs without additional effectiveness.

Commission co-chairman Rep. Mitch Gillespie of Marion said state program rules wouldn’t apply to companies that are already required to follow federal rules and use equipment to reduce smokestack pollution.

Gillespie calls it a middle-of-the-road bill that was worked out by business lobbying groups and state regulators. Environmental groups didn’t participate in crafting the changes.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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