It's been almost a quarter century since the federal government banned oil and gas drilling off the coast of New England. However, it may soon lift its moratorium on exploration there.
Congress recently passed an energy bill that includes a provision allowing surveys of possible sites off the coastline. The surveys would be for exploration, not drilling, because of a 1982 moratorium on drilling that will remain in effect until 2012.
Among the areas likely to be affected would be Georges Bank, an underwater plateau that stretches from Cape Cod to Nova Scotia.
For some background, and a look at the potential impact, we turn to Debbie Hutchinson, a marine geologist at the U.S. Geological Survey Woods Hole Science Center.
This program aired on August 8, 2005. The audio for this program is not available.