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)