A new Secretarial Order to promote orderly and safe development of oil and gas and potash development in the Designated Potash Area in southeastern New Mexico was announced by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar on December 3, 2012.
The Designated Potash Area (DPA) is an area in southeastern New Mexico that has large deposits of potash, oil, and gas. Potash is a potassium-bearing mineral used primarily for fertilizer.
In 1939, the DPA was established by Order of the Secretary of the Interior, under the authority of the Mineral Leasing Act. The Order withdrew approximately 43,000 acres from oil and gas leasing and development to protect potash deposits. Subsequent Orders changed the acreage and management strategies of the DPA. The DPA currently covers a total area of approximately 497,002 acres and includes 350,617 acres of BLM managed land where leasing of oil and gas and potash occurs.
Concurrent development of oil and gas and potash in the DPA has led to a long history of conflicts between the two industries. The 2012 Secretarial Order addresses new technologies and other issues associated with oil, gas, and potash leasing and development within the DPA. The revisions are designed to promote the efficient development of the resources, while minimizing conflict between the industries and ensuring the safety of operations. The 2012 Order supersedes a previous Order issued in 1986.