ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The Minnesota Senate has voted to lift restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions from coal production that critics say prevented both construction of new coal plants in the state, and purchase of energy from new coal plants in neighboring states.

The Senate voted 42-18 in favor lifting the restrictions. They say the bill will allow the state to keep up with what's expected to be growing energy needs to keep up with economic growth.

The coal restrictions date to 2007 and were one piece of a larger bill meant to promote use of renewable energy, but supporters the new bill say that provision went too far. Critics of the new bill say coal is bad for the environment and that emphasizing it threatens economic growth in renewable energy sectors.

The bill has passed a House committee but awaits a vote in that chamber.

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