The federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) controls much of the coal supply in the western United States. When the BLM leases coal to mining companies, the agency collects royalty payments on that land on behalf of American taxpayers. While there’s been a recent rise in demand for U.S. coal on the Asian market, the royalty payments haven’t kept pace.
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden has called for an investigation into this discrepancy. The main focus is on the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and Montana, which accounts for 40 percent of the coal produced in the United States.
What questions do you have about royalties paid by coal mining companies operating in the U.S.?
- Amelia Templeton: Multimedia reporter for EarthFix based in Medford