Public Opinion Sought For Proposal To Increase Coal Extraction Fees

Fees charged by the Interior Department for coal extraction on public lands might go up. Some say they're too low and costing states like Colorado big bucks. But first, officials will be gathering public input, starting Tuesday in Golden.

The public meetings come after an inspector general’s report issued in 2013 which said that taxpayers should be getting more money for leases. One analysis by the natural resources think tank Headwaters Economics said that taxpayers lost as much as $850 million dollars between 2008 and 2012.

However, Colorado coal production is currently at a 20 year low as mines have gone out of business or slowed down operations. The Obama administration’s recently finalized Clean Power Plan is expected to further curtail coal production across the West.