Colorado mountain towns seeking higher coal royalties

Ten Western mountain towns are banding together to try to get coal companies to pay hundreds of millions of dollars a year to help them deal with the effects of climate change.

Leaders of the towns in Colorado, Utah and New Mexico have signed a letter to be sent to federal officials Tuesday asking for changes in the system for collecting royalties on coal. Half the money collected by the federal government goes to states.

Coal is a major source of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. The Denver Post reports the towns are worried about how things like lower snowfall and wildfires will impact tourism — a major part of their economy.

The Colorado Mining Association says the industry is already suffering from production losses and lost jobs.