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It's the old ranchers vs. rustlers movie plot - Washington style.

In recent years mineral-rich Western states have levied severance taxes on resources taken from their soil. Now members of Congress from states that buy Western coal have introduced three bills imposing limits on those taxes. So, sort of like those ranchers who'd hire a gunslinger in those old Hollywood movies, the Western Governors' Policy Office has hired an experienced Washington consulting firm - Rosapepe, Powers, and Associates - to coordinate a fight against the pending bills.

Although 33 states charge severance taxes on coal, gas, oil, and other resources, the current proposals are aimed particularly at coal-producing Montana and Wyoming.m

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