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Scotland's Seas And Wildlife At Risk From New Fuel Exploration.
By Matt J. Weiss, March 3, 2008 @ 02:00 AM (EST)
Source: Sundayherald.com

There will be blood, and oil will be to blame. Scotland's seas and the wildlife they harbour are facing one of the biggest threats they have ever encountered.

A massive new search for oil and gas launched by the UK government will put whales, dolphins and other marine life at risk. And it will jeopardise global attempts to cut the pollution that is causing climate chaos.

Plans to open up virtually all of the seas around Scotland to multinationals seeking to find oil and gas have been greeted with widespread horror by experts and environmentalists.

This represents the most substan-tial threat to Scotland's seas in the modern age," warned Green MSP Robin Harper.

"Practically every mile of our coastline could see drilling and seismic exploration, putting marine ecosystems and wildlife at risk. This amounts to exploitation of the crudest sort, and undermines every improvement in marine conservation since the 1970s."

Harper demanded that UK ministers abandon the plans, and called on the SNP government in Edinburgh to oppose them.

"UK ministers seem determined to take us in exactly the wrong direction," he said. "Have they forgotten that their dependence on fossil fuels is what has led to the threat of climate change in the first place?"

The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) in London launched the 25th offshore oil and gas licensing round on February 20. Nearly 2300 blocks of sea around Scotland and northern England are being offered for exploration for the first time.

It was, BERR said, a "record-breaking" number. Vast reaches of ocean to the west of the Hebrides, around Shetland and Orkney, and off the Scottish east coast have all been zoned for exploration.

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