August 26, 2008

Nova Scotia Considers Drilling Proposal

U.S. fishermen and conservationists are voicing concern over a Canadian proposal to drill for oil and gas on the Georges Bank fishing ground.

Nova Scotia Energy Minister Richard Hurlburt recently suggested that fishing and oil drilling can be conducted in environmentally sensitive areas without harming fishing grounds that are just starting to rebound, the Boston Globe reported Monday.

The Nova Scotia government estimates there could be about 1 billion barrels of oil and 5.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas beneath Georges Bank, located about 100 miles off the coast of Cape Cod.

"If there is an opportunity here, we have to look at it," Hurlburt said.

U.S. fishermen and environmentalists were quick to criticize the idea.

"We are saying this is the one place they should leave alone," Denny Morrow, executive director of the Nova Scotia Fish Packers Association, told the newspaper. "It is an incredibly diverse and productive place. We have fish and shellfish spawning 12 months a year. ... There is nothing else like it."

Drilling is currently allowed virtually everywhere off Eastern Canada except Georges Bank, the newspaper said.