In a blow to environmentalists, a Democratic effort to delay President Bush’s plan to relax the New Source Review regulations of the federal Clean Air Act was struck down by the Senate yesterday in a 50-46 vote. The postponement effort had been led by Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), who wanted to give scientists six months to study the Bush proposal’s likely effects on human health. The Senate vote paves the way for industrial polluters to upgrade plants without installing state-of-the-art pollution controls, as the law currently requires. Despite the loss, some environmentalists saw a silver lining in the bipartisan breakdown of the vote: Six Republicans from states afflicted with severe air pollution sided with the majority of Democrats in supporting the delay.
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