Aug 26, 2005

Georges Bank exploratory drilling to happen

One of the foul balls of the Energy Policy Act...
Exploration on Georges Bank OK'd
Critics say oil, gas survey could disrupt fishing grounds
By Rick Klein, Globe Staff | August 5, 2005

WASHINGTON -- A provision tucked into the energy bill approved by Congress last week calls on the government to conduct a survey of potential oil and gas drilling at sites along the entire US coastline, including Georges Bank off the coast of Nantucket.

The measure directs the Department of Interior to conduct an ''inventory and analysis of oil and gas resources" beneath the outer continental shelf, the relatively shallow areas beginning about 3 miles off the nation's coastline. That includes Georges Bank, a vast underwater plateau that stretches from Cape Cod to Nova Scotia and has been among the world's most fertile fishing grounds.

Energy companies have sought to drill for oil and gas on the bank for more than 30 years, prompting protracted legal and congressional battles. A ban on drilling has been in place since 1982, and the current moratorium runs through 2012. The energy bill, which President Bush is expected to sign next week, does not alter the drilling ba but lifts the prohibition on exploration, which was added during the 1990s.

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