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Associated Press

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — What’s often considered an annual environmental housecleaning bill in the North Carolina Legislature is drawing fierce criticism after some new provisions on hydraulic fracturing were added.

The bill introduced in a Senate panel Tuesday added new provisions that environmentalists fear will tamper with air quality standards and hydraulic fracturing safeguards. Environmental advocates said they need to review the measure because they were seeing it for the first time.

Hydraulic fracturing, popularly known as “fracking,” involves injecting chemicals and sand at high pressure underground to extract natural gas. A state commission created by the legislature is charged with writing rules for the industry before regulators issue permits.

The Senate panel endorsed the bill unanimously on a voice vote. It now heads to the Senate.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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