The leaders of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee want to investigate claims that mining firms are dodging government royalty payments on coal excavated from federal and tribal lands.
Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and ranking member Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) cited Reuters reports that mining firms low-ball the value of coal when selling to traders and marketers.
Reuters indicated some of the mining firms own those intermediaries, which then sell the coal at higher rates abroad.
"This is so obvious it shouldn't need to be said: Coal companies need to be paying taxpayers all of the money they are owed," Wyden said in a Friday statement.
The senators sent a letter Thursday asking Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to look into the practice.