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Norman Lent, 81; N.Y. representative helped environment

WASHINGTON — Former Representative Norman F. Lent, an 11-term New York Republican who became an influential voice on environmental legislation, died June 11 at his home in Arlington, Va.

He had cancer.

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Mr. Lent, 81, never lost an election in 30 years in office — first as a New York state senator in the 1960s and later in the US House of Representatives, where he represented part of Long Island from 1970 to 1992.

By his retirement, Mr. Lent had become one of the most senior Republicans in the House. Much of his clout derived from his seat as the ranking minority member on the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Mr. Lent spent his entire career in a House that was under Democratic control. He became a master of bipartisan compromise and a ‘‘valued ally or respected adversary’’ of the Energy and Commerce Committee chairman, Representative John Dingell, a Michigan Democrat.

Working in close collaboration, Mr. Lent and Dingell pushed through the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 — sweeping legislation that remains the last major update of the original Clean Air Act.

Mr. Lent was a key player behind a compromise on reformulated gas, a smog-reducing blend that was mandated in certain cities by the 1990 legislation.

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