BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The lobbying arm of the U.S. coal industry is asking for hundreds of millions of dollars in royalty relief, tax cuts and other breaks to help companies ride out the financial crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

National Mining Association President Rich Nolan made the request in a letter sent last week to the White House and the leaders of the House and Senate.

Even before the current economic upheaval, the coal mining industry was in sharp decline as utilities across the nation switch to cleaner-burning natural gas and renewable energy sources.

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