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U.S. Looking To Get More From Oil, Natural Gas Leases

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WASHINGTON — The Interior Department says it will study how other countries collect oil and natural gas royalties to determine whether the United States can increase money collected from energy leases.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said he wants to ensure that U.S. taxpayers receive a fair return from energy resources developed on public lands and from offshore drilling.

The study follows a 2008 Government Accountability Office report that showed the United States consistently near the bottom when compared with other countries in revenue received from oil and natural gas leases.

President Barack Obama said late last month he will open a huge swath of East Coast waters and other protected areas in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska to drilling.

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