BALTIMORE (AP) — A Maryland panel has given provisional approval to new protections against smog, but some environmental groups are not happy that a final vote has been delayed for a month.

The Air Quality Control Advisory Council on Monday gave preliminary approval to air quality protections submitted by the Maryland Department of the Environment.

Josh Tulkin, director of the Maryland Sierra Club, says the debate already has lasted a year, and the state can’t afford further delay. Tulkin says by putting off final approval for another month, the coal industry has been given more time to weaken safeguards by pressuring the state.

Tad Aburn, the department’s air director, says the department is moving ahead. He says it’s taking more time to meet with stakeholders before returning to the panel next month.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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