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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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US seeks changes to coal program, but Trump could alter path

By Matthew Brown Associated Press

BILLINGS, Mont. – U.S. officials say a yearlong review shows coal sales from public lands need to be modernized to deal with climate change and give taxpayers a fair return.

The Interior Department imposed a moratorium on new coal sales last year. It’s now considering raising royalty rates and requiring compensation from mining companies to offset coal’s effect on climate change.

President-elect Donald Trump has promised to rescind the moratorium, putting the reform effort in doubt.

Outgoing Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Wednesday that publicly owned coal accounts for 10 percent of total U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions. She says the public will demand the government deal with subsidized fossil fuels that contribute to climate change.

Trump’s Interior appointee, Rep. Ryan Zinke, is from Montana, which holds some of the world’s largest untapped coal reserves.

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