The moratorium on oil and gas exploration in Georges Bank has been extended indefinitely.

Energy Minister Bill Estabrooks introduced legislation yesterday to ban exploration indefinitely, saying the risks of drilling in the sensitive fishing grounds outweigh the potential benefits.

“Rather than to continue this debate every few years, our legislation will provide certainty about our intentions around Georges,” he said.

The moratorium extends to commercial seismic testing in the area, but does not preclude “pure testing,” such as geological studies.

While the moratorium is indefinite, it can be lifted by a majority vote in the legislature. This caused some opposition members to question the sincerity of the government’s moratorium.

Liberal energy critic Andrew Younger welcomed the move, but wanted the bill structured such that it would be harder to change.

“By having a resolution of the house, it’s actually much, much easier if you have a majority government to overturn this act.”