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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The federal government is upping the amount of its financial support of state and tribal efforts to regulate surface coal mining.

The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement said Wednesday that it is providing $68 million this year, up from $60 million. Recipients can use the money to cover half the cost of issuing mining permits, inspecting mines and enforcement.

The bulk of the money is going to big coal-producing states. OSM says Kentucky, the nation’s No. 3 producer, tops the list at $13.3 million, followed by Pennsylvania at $12.6 million. West Virginia, the No. 2 U.S. producer, is receiving $11.93 million, while top producer Wyoming gets $2.3 million.

Other recipients include Alabama, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio, Virginia and Utah.

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