Alan Neuhauser for U.S. News and World Report:
Coal companies should be charged as much as five times what it costs them for surface mining on federal lands, according to a new report from a nonpartisan think tank at the New York University School of Law.
The royalties that companies pay to mine coal on federal lands have not been upgraded in decades, and through a variety of loopholes and incentives, companies have been allowed to fork over just a fraction of what would seem to be required by law – leaving as much as $1 billion a year on the table for the past 30 years, the study notes.
“In some cases, it’s gaming the system, in other cases, it’s using the rules to the best of their advantage,” says Jayni Hein, the study’s lead author and policy director at the NYU School of Law’s Institute for Policy Integrity, which released the report this week. “There’s no reason these companies should be able to lease coal for the same price they were able to decades ago.”