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Originally published Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 4:46 PM

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Enzi pushes back release of mineral payments bill

Wyoming's senior U.S. senator is delaying the release of legislation that aims to block the federal government from cutting mineral royalty payments to 35 states.

The Associated Press

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CHEYENNE, Wyo. —

Wyoming's senior U.S. senator is delaying the release of legislation that aims to block the federal government from cutting mineral royalty payments to 35 states.

Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., had said he planned to release a bill this week after the Department of Interior announced it would make $110 million in cuts this year.

Daniel Head is a spokesman for Enzi in Washington. He said Thursday that the senator now plans to release the bill next week because he's working to gather more supporters in the House.

As the nation's leading coal-producing state, Wyoming stands to lose more than $50 million in royalties for minerals mined from federal land.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said this week that her agency had no choice but to trim the payments because of the automatic federal budget cuts that started March 1.

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