Petroleum projects have been banned at Georges Bank for more than 20 years, but the federal and provincial governments must now decide if the moratorium should be extended.
The research on whether to do so begins soon, with the Offshore Energy Environmental Research Association about to send out two requests for proposals to study the area.
In 1999, the Georges Bank Review Panel recommended keeping the area shut off to petroleum drilling and exploration until the end of 2012. The provincial and federal governments agreed.
One of the new RFPs will examine that decision and how it is understood in contrast to today’s scientific knowledge. The other study will look into how technology has changed since 1999 and what impact that could have on the area.
“In order to make a good decision, governments will have to depend on the best science and technology information they can,” said association executive director Wayne St-Amour.
The Research Association hopes to have its final reports in by spring of next year. The not for profit research group has received $500,000 from the province to study the issue.
The association has also put out a call to the scientific community to send in their input on the subject by the end of August.