BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A White House report says a sharp hike in royalty rates for companies that mine coal from federal lands across the West would trigger only modest reductions in U.S. coal production.
The report comes after the Obama administration halted new sales of federal coal leases while officials determine if longstanding royalty rates shortchange taxpayers.
The White Council of Economic Advisers says more than doubling the royalty rate would reduce mining from federal lands by just 7 percent. It says such a move would cut emission from burning coal and bring as much as $730 million annually in new revenue.
The coal industry and its supporters oppose the moratorium. They say higher royalties will force companies into job cuts.
House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop dismissed Wednesday’s report as “propaganda.”
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