AP NEWS

The Latest: Trump official touts lease sales in New Mexico

February 6, 2019

HOBBS, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s visit to New Mexico’s oil region (all times local):

4:30 p.m.

A top Trump administration official is touting record sales for oil and gas leases under the U.S. Bureau of Land Management as he seeks to promote energy development on public lands.

Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt says the federal agency last year generated $1.1 billion from oil and gas lease sales, making 2018 its highest-grossing year.

Bernhardt’s statement Wednesday came as he visited Hobbs, a city at the center of New Mexico oil country. The region near the Texas border is part of the Permian Basin, which federal geologists say has the potential to double the nation’s onshore oil and gas resources.

President Donald Trump on Monday said he intends to nominate Bernhardt to become Interior secretary. Democrats say he’s vulnerable to conflicts of interest, citing his past lobbying ties to U.S. energy companies.

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12 a.m.

Federal officials say acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt plans to visit a city at the center of New Mexico’s oil country on Wednesday to promote energy development on public lands.

A department spokeswoman says Bernhardt will visit residents and federal workers in Hobbs, where oil production has led to a recent economic boom in the region.

Officials say Bernhardt will visit residents and Bureau of Land Management employees in Hobbs.

President Donald Trump on Monday said he intended to nominate Bernhardt — a Washington veteran with lobbying ties to U.S. energy companies — to lead the department.

Democrats and environmental groups say he’s vulnerable to conflicts of interest.