By MATTHEW BROWN Associated Press
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Trump administration is giving energy companies temporary breaks on royalties and rent they pay to extract oil and gas from leases on public lands because of the coronavirus pandemic, government data shows. The move is drawing criticism as a corporate handout. A Democratic lawmaker asked for an investigation into how the breaks were awarded. Administration officials say the breaks are being granted only for companies that can show lower royalties are necessary for them to continue extracting fuel from public leases. Royalty rate cuts so far have been authorized for at least 76 energy leases in Utah. More reductions, including in other states, are in the works.

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