Interior Department repeals Obama-era rule on coal royalties

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Interior Department is scrapping an Obama-era rule aimed at ensuring that coal companies don’t shortchange taxpayers on huge volumes of coal extracted from public lands, primarily in the West.

The Trump administration had put the rule on hold after mining companies challenged the regulation in federal court. Monday’s action repeals the Obama-era rule and begins a process seeking public comments on whether to change the way the government values coal mined on federal lands.

The Trump administration described the repeal as another sign it has stopped a so-called “war on coal” by the federal government. President Donald Trump lifted a moratorium on the sale of coal mining leases on federal lands last week and rolled back Obama-era regulations aimed at curbing climate-changing emissions from coal-fired power plants.

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