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Western states look to capitalize on energy boom

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Southeastern New Mexico is on track to pump out 80 million barrels of oil this year. Numbers like that haven't been seen since the 1970s.

In Texas and North Dakota, the oilfields are booming. Wyoming continues to be the nation's king of coal, and companies are exploring possible shale plays in more pockets around the West.

Projections released this week by the U.S. Energy Information Administration suggest the next three decades will see similar flurries of domestic energy development as technology improves and pressures mount to reduce America's reliance on Mideast oil. And experts say the West will continue to be a player.

The ``energy breadbasket'' of the nation is how Utah Gov. Gary Herbert describes it.

He's leading an effort by the Western Governors Association to develop an energy plan for the 19-state region.

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