Australian Environment Minister Robert Hill put oil exploration in the Great Barrier Reef on hold this week, citing concerns that the testing might harm whales. Geologic exploration company TGS NOPEC had plans to conduct seismic testing some 30 miles from the reef, part of which is a U.N. World Heritage Site and breeding area for humpback whales. Hill has asked the state of Queensland to complete an environmental assessment of the project to help determine whether oil exploration should continue.

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