Charter for Trump energy panel expires, meetings cancelled

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Federal officials have cancelled future meetings of an advisory panel created by the Trump administration to make it easier to extract fossil fuels from publicly leased land and offshore sites and to ensure a fair return for taxpayers.

Interior Department spokeswoman Molly Block said Tuesday the Royalty Policy Committee’s charter expired April 21. Upcoming meetings scheduled in Pittsburgh later this week and Salt Lake City in August were cancelled.

Block declined to give a reason.

The committee was set up two years ago by former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

Conservationists argued it was stacked in favor of industry.

They had asked a federal judge in Montana to disband the group and strike down its recommendations, including changes to how energy companies calculate what they owe taxpayers for pumping natural gas from public sites.

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