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Gov. Mead: Wyoming can't challenge mineral cuts

Ben Neary, Associated Press

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) -- Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead says there's no legal basis for the state to challenge federal action cutting more than $50 million in mineral payments to the state.

Mead says he's dissatisfied with how the federal government has trickled out information about reductions to various programs under the mandatory federal spending cuts that took effect last month.

The U.S. Department of Interior announced last month that Wyoming would lose $53 million, the biggest cut among any of the 35 states that receive mineral payments. Wyoming is the nation's largest coal-producing state.

Mead says he's still talking to the state's congressional delegation about possibly restoring some of the mineral money.

Congress also voted last year to cut more than $700 million that had been promised to Wyoming for abandoned mine land restoration.