U.S. says working to tighten oversight of coal exports

WASHINGTON Fri Jan 4, 2013 3:09pm EST

WASHINGTON Jan 4 (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of the Interior said on Friday that it will tighten oversight of how companies pay federal royalties on certain coal exports after senior lawmakers called for a probe into the matter.

"Coal resources on federal lands are assets that belong to all Americans and the Department is committed to collecting every dollar due per provisions of existing law," Patrick Etchart, a spokesman for the Office of Natural Resources Revenue, an agency of the Interior Department, said in a statement.

Earlier on Friday Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, the incoming chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and the panel's leading Republican, Senator Lisa Murkowski, said they were concerned that coal companies may be shorting royalty payments and called for officials to investigate.

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