February 16, 2010 / 9:40 PM / 10 years ago

US Interior enforcement cases net $157 mln in '09

WASHINGTON, Feb 16 (Reuters) - The Interior Department on Tuesday said it recovered more than $157 million in 2009 from companies that underpaid the government for the right to produce energy on federal lands.

Interior’s Minerals Management Service said it collected $65 million through an audit and compliance program, and more than $34 million through automated detection systems that allowed collection of interest due on late payments.

Another $58 million was collected from enforcement actions including civil penalties and negotiated settlements, the department said.

“As we build a comprehensive energy plan that makes wise use of both conventional and renewable resources we must ensure that taxpayers are getting a fair return from their resources,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a statement. (Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by David Gregorio)

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