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Cutting royalty on coal tracts would cost state


Lowering the price for mining a vast reserve of publicly owned coal near the Wyoming border would cost the state of Montana between $29 million and $170 million over the next few decades, officials said. Montana's initial attempt to sell leases on the 572 million ton Otter Creek reserve ended Feb. 8 with no company making an offer. The coal industry and eastern Montana Republicans are pushing for a lower lease price to s p u r d e v e l o p m e n t . Environmentalists and some area landowners want the price high, to discourage a project they said would have unpaid environmental costs. The M...

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