Oil, gas, potash deal made in New Mexico

Dec. 5, 2012 at 8:40 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- The U.S. Interior Department issued an order to develop oil, natural gas and potash resources in a 500,000-acre site in New Mexico.

The parcel produces 75 percent of the potash mined in the United States. It also contains 800 federal oil and natural gas leases. The potash lies above oil and natural gas wells in an area governed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

An order issued by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar calls for the development of technologies like horizontal drilling to produce oil and natural gas without disturbing the surface.

Salazar last January met with leaders from the energy and potash communities to develop a draft framework for his proposal. Salazar said the measure could end years of debate over development of the federal area. The potash industry had said oil and gas interests would interfere with its operations.

"This comprehensive strategy will allow us to move beyond years of disagreement and litigation between the energy and potash industries and provides a balanced approach that will strengthen New Mexico's economy," Salazar said in a statement.

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