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Major Coal Producer Should Show That It Is Paying Its Fair Share to U.S. Taxpayers

Dec. 8, 2015

Major Coal Producer Should Show That It Is Paying Its Fair Share to U.S. Taxpayers

Coal Companies Game the System, Avoid Paying Full Royalties to Feds and States

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Cloud Peak Energy, a major coal producer based in Wyoming, should release all relevant information associated with its federal coal leases to assure the public that it is paying U.S. taxpayers what it owes, Public Citizen and four groups said in a letter (PDF) today.

Various government and independent investigations have found widespread abuses by coal companies in the federal coal program. On Dec. 8, the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing to examine this issue. In advance of the hearing, the groups are calling on Cloud Peak Energy, which is embroiled in the scandal, to come clean and release details the American people need to ensure they’re getting a fair deal.

More than 40 percent of American coal is extracted from federal land, and by law, the companies are required to pay royalties to the federal government and states based on the full market price of the coal.

Cloud Peak Energy and others have drawn scrutiny for selling coal to subsidiary companies at below market prices, thereby avoiding royalties on the full market price. By doing so, the companies have bilked U.S. taxpayers and states out of hundreds of millions that could be funding schools and other critical public needs.

“Coal companies have been gaming the system for years,” said Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program. “Releasing this data will help Americans ensure that the sale of publicly owned coal is done in a way that delivers a fair return to all U.S. taxpayers and the states where the coal is produced.”

The groups sending the letter are Global Witness, In the Public Interest, Pax World Management LLC, U.S. PIRG and Public Citizen.

Read the letter (PDF).