Posted at: 12/03/2012 2:49 PM
By: The Associated Press
Photo: Ken Salazar
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has issued an order aimed at ending a decades-long fight over development of oil and natural gas in an area that makes up the nation's greatest potash reserve.
Under an order announced Monday, "drilling islands" will be created within the 780-square-mile area where potash is protected in southeast New Mexico.
The two industries have been locked in legal battles over development of fossil fuels and potash in southeastern New Mexico since the late 1930s.
Potash is primarily used to make fertilizer. The area, which is managed by the Bureau of Land Management, produces three-quarters of the potash mined in the US.
Part of the Permian Basin that spans New Mexico and Texas, the area is also home to nearly 800 federal oil and gas leases.
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