Utah's congressional delegation joined with Gov. Norm Bangerter on Friday in asking the Interior Department to lower coal royalties for underground mining on U.S. lands.
Sens. Jake Garn and Orrin Hatch, both R-Utah, joined with Republican Reps. Jim Hansen and Howard Nielson and Democratic Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, in writing Secretary Manuel Lujan to urge lowering the royalty level from 8 percent to 5 percent.The governor wrote that the 8 percent rate reduces the amount of Utah mining and is "inequitable" because underground-mined coal is more costly to extract than surface strip-mined coal.
The Reagan administration proposed last year reducing the rate, but the White House Office of Management and Budget has questioned the loss of revenue the reduction would cause, at least initially.