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Scottish Waters Targeted for Oil/Gas Exploration

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Massive Offshore Oil Exploration Planned off Scotland – The UK government has announced the 25th offshore leasing round, a “record-breaking” offering of nearly 2300 development blocks, including nearly the entire coast of Scotland. “This represents the most substantial threat to Scotland’s seas in the modern age,” warned Green MSP Robin Harper, who demanded that UK ministers abandon the plans, and called on the SNP government in Edinburgh to oppose them. The UK secretary of state for energy, John Hutton, was positive: “We have been careful to avoid harming dolphins and other sea life that thrive in these areas in the past and will continue to do so,” he said. Special concern is being raised about widespread seismic surveying of the region. “The latest research shows that the impacts of the kind of seismic surveys planned for Scottish waters may be greater than previously thought, with sounds travelling further, and with higher frequencies being produced,” said Dr Chris Parsons from George Mason University in Virginia, US. A spokeswoman for the Scottish government said: “The regulation of oil and gas exploration is reserved to Westminster. In order to obtain a licence to explore any given area, oil and gas companies or seismic operators need to apply to the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. Applications are subject to detailed scrutiny.” Sunday Herald, 3/3/08 [READ ARTICLE]

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