More states aim to knock air out of festive balloon launches

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PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The tradition of releasing balloons at weddings, birthdays and memorials may soon get deflated by lawmakers in more than half a dozen states.

Environmental groups want to put the kibosh on the tradition that has the unintended consequence of hurting the environment and threatening wildlife.

Helium-filled balloons can travel for hundreds of miles before returning to earth. Fishermen haul them up in nets. Hikers find them on remote trails. They also harm birds and marine life.

Maine is one of at least six states considering limiting balloon releases this year. A similar proposal was terminated while in committee in the Kentucky legislature.

State Rep. Lydia Blume of Maine said she supports the bill that would target the large-scale, intentional release of balloons. She called it “a common sense thing.”

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