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A review of climate damage caused by coal mining on public lands was launched Thursday by the U.S. Interior Department as the Biden administration expands its scrutiny of government fossil fuel sales that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. The review also will consider if companies are paying fair value for coal extracted from public reserves in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and other states. The agency will take 30 days of public comment and plans to announce its next steps by November. Almost half the nation’s annual coal production — some 250 million tons last year is mined by private companies from leases on federal land primarily in Western states.

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