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Western states are protesting the Obama administration’s use of sequestration as an excuse to cut mineral rights royalties to energy producing states by 5.1 percent, with one multi-state coalition calling it outright “theft” and the Colorado attorney general claiming that the plan may be “unlawful.”

The cuts will cost Colorado about $8.3 million, but critics say it’s nothing but a cynical political ploy to make ordinary Americans feel the pain of sequestration. Total cuts to all the affected states amount to $110 million.

States receive half of the leasing revenue from energy companies working on federal lands within their borders, but the federal government collects all the revenue and then distributes it to the states.