SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is set to approve a major natural gas drilling project in Utah.
Interior officials tell The Associated Press that Salazar plans to announce the approval of more than 3,600 new wells over the next decade in eastern Utah. Officials say the project will support up to 4,300 jobs during its development.
The announcement is set for Tuesday in Salt Lake City.
The move comes as the Obama administration is under fire from critics who say his energy plan is hurting job growth and the economy with undue opposition to new drilling.
The administration says the attacks are political rhetoric and that natural gas production in the U.S. grew by more than 7 percent in 2011. Obama officials say that surpasses a previous production record set in 1973.