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Submitted by WWAY on Thu, 03/22/2012 - 11:59am.

By GARY D. ROBERTSON Associated Press RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- A top environmental regulator says North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue generally supports a legislative proposal to exempt industrial plants from state pollution reduction rules if they already must comply with federal rules involving certain chemicals. Assistant Secretary Robin Smith with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources told a legislative panel Thursday that Perdue has seen the bill's language and backs changes to the Air Toxics Program as long as public health is protected. Business interests want the program scaled back for companies already installing equipment to comply with federal rules to reduce pollution from more than 100 chemicals. Dan Conrad with the North Carolina Conservation Network told the Environmental Review Commission the proposal unnecessarily increases the threats to public health. The full Legislature would have to approve any changes. (Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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