U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, in New Mexico, introduced a draft measure that would encourage the co-development of oil, natural gas and potash resources in an area in the state governed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
The 400,000-acre parcel produces 75 percent of the potash mined in the United States, mostly for fertilizer. It also contains 800 federal oil and natural gas leases.
Salazar explained the measure could end years of debate over development of the federal reserve area. The proposal "is a commonsense framework that emphasizes the co-development of potash and oil and gas in the region, and strengthens the economy by continuing to support our nation's energy and agriculture needs," he said in a statement.
The secretary in January met with leaders from the energy and potash communities to develop a draft framework for his proposal.
The proposal calls for buffer zones between oil and natural gas wells and potash mining operations. Salazar said the measure, if approved, would start "a new chapter" in the relationship between the two communities.
Potash lies above oil and natural gas wells in the BLM area in the region.