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NC legislature moves to let cities protect trees

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The North Carolina House Environment Committee has approved a bill that seeks to amend a much-debated billboard law from last session.

A law that gave billboard companies authority to cut more trees around their signs would be weakened under the proposal, with more control returned to local governments.

Committee members moved the proposal forward by way of a split voice vote, and the measure is expected to make it to the House floor next week. The new law would allow municipalities a 30-day review of proposed clear-cutting and a say in how vegetation is replanted.

Environmental groups say the proposal was surprising, but welcomed. Last year's law permits companies to cut trees within 380 feet around billboards on state roads in rural areas, an increase from 250 feet.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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