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Environmentalists laud ‘historic’ mercury rule

US environmentalists needed something to celebrate. Having watched their climate agenda fall apart last year, they spent this year on the defensive against angry House Republicans.  President Barack Obama himself delivered a major setback in September by cancelling a major new smog regulation. But the administration stepped up with a welcome holiday gift to its environmental supporters on Wednesday:  a new air quality regulation that promises to sharply curb emissions of mercury and other toxins from some 600 power plants across the country. 

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