BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Obama administration says a sharp increase in royalties paid by companies mining coal from federal lands across the West would trigger only modest reductions in U.S. coal production.
That report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers comes after new sales of federal coal leases were halted in January.
Officials are determining if longstanding royalty rates shortchange taxpayers.
The council says more than doubling the royalty rate would reduce mining from federal lands 7 percent. It would cut emissions from burning the fuel and bring as much as $730 million annually in new revenue.
The coal industry and many elected officials across the West oppose the sales moratorium. They say higher royalties will force job cuts.
House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop dismissed Wednesday's report as "propaganda."