This April 4, 2013 photo shows an 80-foot thick coal seam at Cloud Peak Energy's Spring Creek strip mine near Decker, Mont. From the time coal is blasted from strip mines in remote southeastern Montana to the point where it reaches customers in Asia, the fuel's price gets marked up by five times or more, offering a lucrative emerging market for the companies that ship it overseas. But as the federal government investigates whether companies are unfairly bilking the treasury by paying royalties based on a far lower coal price, one of the industry's main players, Cloud Peak Energy, is defending the practice. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown)

Associated Press
This April 4, 2013 photo shows an 80-foot thick coal seam at Cloud Peak Energy's Spring Creek strip mine near Decker, Mont.  From the time coal is blasted from strip mines in remote southeastern Montana to the point where it reaches customers in Asia, the fuel's price gets marked up by five times or more, offering a lucrative emerging market for the companies that ship it overseas. But as the federal government investigates whether companies are unfairly bilking the treasury by paying royalties based on a far lower coal price, one of the industry's main players, Cloud Peak Energy, is defending the practice.  (AP Photo/Matthew Brown)
This April 4, 2013 photo shows an 80-foot thick coal seam at Cloud Peak Energy's Spring Creek strip mine near Decker, Mont. From the time coal is blasted from strip mines in remote southeastern Montana to the point where it reaches customers in Asia, the fuel's price gets marked up by five times or more, offering a lucrative emerging market for the companies that ship it overseas. But as the federal government investigates whether companies are unfairly bilking the treasury by paying royalties based on a far lower coal price, one of the industry's main players, Cloud Peak Energy, is defending the practice. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown)
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