Feds to restore cuts in mineral payments to states

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The federal government says it will give an estimated $110 million in mineral leasing and royalty payments next fiscal year to states that saw the money withheld under 2013 budget cuts.

Monday’s decision by the Interior Department comes after Western lawmakers and governors pressed the Obama administration to restore the money.

More than two dozen states had been denied their share of the funds, collected from companies for oil and gas leasing and production royalties.

The Interior Department says the money will be given to the states sometime after the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.

Agency spokesman Patrick Etchart says payments from revenues received in 2014 also will be withheld until the end of that fiscal year if the automatic budget cuts remain in place and unchanged.

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