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Maryland Senate passes Hogan's scaled-back water pollution bill

Gov. Larry Hogan won a qualified victory Thursday as the Senate unanimously passed his water pollution credit trading bill in a highly watered-down form.

The governor's Clean Water Commerce Act, which now goes to the House of Delegates, came into the General Assembly as an ambitious proposal allowing farmers, governments and others that reduce their pollution to sell credits to others that are having a harder time controlling their pollution of the state's waters.

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The measure would have used state money to fund projects that would have generated pollution credits that could then be sold.

After running into opposition from environmentalists and local governments and a lack of enthusiasm from farmers, the administration agreed to trim back the program to a competitive grant process for pollution-reduction projects.

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The scaled-back measure won support from such groups as the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Maryland Municipal League, easing its passage.

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