Energy: Setback in the Offshore Search

Environmentalists are laughing all the way to Georges Bank

Stymied for nearly two years in their attempts to prospect for the huge quantities of oil and gas believed to lie under the Atlantic, U.S. oil companies suffered yet another setback last week. A federal court in Boston stopped the sale of oil leases on Georges Bank, a rich fishing ground 100 miles southeast of Nantucket. It thus put off for months, and possibly years, the day when drilling could begin.

D-day was delayed by environmental worries. Fishermen have long sought assurances that the bank, vital to Massachusetts' $500 million-a-year catch, would be protected from...

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