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posted: 6/20/2012 12:02 PM

Senate defeats bid to block EPA power plant rule

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Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- The Democrat-controlled Senate has defeated a bid to block the Environmental Protection Agency from setting the first federal standards to reduce toxic air pollution from power plants.

Republicans were pushing the measure but they didn't get enough votes Wednesday to move ahead.

It would have overturned a long-overdue regulation to slash mercury and other toxic emissions from the oldest and most polluting oil- and coal-fired power plants in the country.

Power plants are the largest remaining source of man-made mercury in the environment. Mercury is a toxic metal that's known to impair brain development in children.

Republicans argued unsuccessfully that the benefits of the regulation did not outweigh rising electricity bills and lost jobs from power plants shutting down.

The regulation would cost nearly $10 billion annually.

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