Norway's environment ministry yesterday temporarily halted plans for offshore exploratory oil drilling in an environmentally sensitive area of the Norwegian sea off the Lofoten islands. The Norsk Hydro project, which was set to begin in a few days, appeared to take environmentalists and politicians by surprise and threatened to become an explosive issue in next month's parliamentary elections after it was reported by Dagbladet newspaper this week. Environment minister Siri Bjerke said she needed time to consider objections lodged by the environmental group Bellona. See Dagbladet.
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