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Utah Counties Fighting Coal Moratorium

Two Utah counties say in a lawsuit that a halt on new coal leases on federal land is blocking a mine expansion pump millions of dollars into their economies.

Attorney Peter Stirba said Monday the suit is the first challenging the moratorium ordered by the Obama administration in January. Kane and Garfield counties want to strike down the halt that they say could force the mine to close.

A U.S. Department of the Interior spokesperson said they can't comment on pending lawsuits, but the moratorium started after concerns were raised about the coal program, including climate change.

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Utah is among the states most affected, along with Wyoming, Montana, Colorado and New Mexico.

President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to eliminated the moratorium.