Ottawa supports keeping drilling moratorium on Georges Bank off Nova Scotia

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HALIFAX - Federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver says Ottawa agrees with keeping in place a moratorium on oil and gas exploration on Georges Bank off the southwest coast of Nova Scotia.

The current federal-provincial moratorium on exploration on Georges Bank expires at the end of 2015 and Nova Scotia has been in talks with the federal government about creating matching legislation to extend it until the end of 2022.

Oliver, who left the Natural Resources portfolio last month, says Ottawa continues to be supportive of the moratorium and that position isn't expected to change.

Provincial Energy Minister Andrew Younger says the Liberal government will honour an all-party commitment to extend the moratorium.

Younger says he expects to work with federal Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford to enshrine the moratorium into law and isn't expecting any difficulties.

Georges Bank is home to some of the most productive and ecologically sensitive fishing grounds off the East Coast, and environmental groups have argued for a permanent drilling moratorium.

Organizations: Georges Bank

Geographic location: Ottawa, Nova Scotia, HALIFAX East Coast

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