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JUDGE REJECTS CHALLENGE TO AIR POLLUTION RULES

A state judge on Tuesday dismissed a challenge to state air pollution regulations aimed at reducing acid rain.

Four labor unions and a group of commercial and industrial electricity customers sought to invalidate New York's air pollution regulations days after the state mandated them on an emergency basis in August.

The regulations reduce the amount of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides allowed to be emitted from coal burning power plants. The compounds are key elements of acid rain, blamed for killing ecosystems in hundreds of ponds and lakes in the Adirondack and Catskill state parks.

The regulations reduce nitrogen oxide emissions at a level equivalent to removing 300,000 cars from the state's highways and reduce sulfur dioxide emissions at a level equal to 2.3 million households heated with oil, the state argued in the lawsuit.

"The record is replete with facts establishing the damage to the environment" by sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, wrote State Supreme Court Justice Bernard Malone.

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