Shale gas drilling divides PM Rutte and Labour

To the surprise of the VVD, the PvdA does not want to extract any shale gas in the Netherlands until the end of this term of government. PvdA leader Diederik Samson announced this during a debate in the Second Chamber last night. 

According to Samson, natural gas extracted from shale does not belong in the future of energy supply. The extraction of shale gas is a controversial topic as it may cause damage to the environment, among other things. There is large scale opposition against shale gas within the PvdA. Earlier Samson agreed to the extraction of it if that can be done cleanly and safely. But his faction's opinion has now changed.

"No party is enthusiastic about shale gas, we aren't either. Therefore we first need to have all the facts on the table and only hen decide on drilling." said VVD Halbe Zijlstra after the debate. About the PvdA's stance on no drilling he said: "We sometimes have different opinions, otherwise we would be able to merge."

Prime Minister Mark Rutte (VVD) emphasized that the research into shale gas will continue. The Cabinet is currently identifying the benefits and drawbacks and the possibilities. It is considering the impact of shale gas extraction for humans and the environment and whether clean technologies are available. The Cabinet will come with further proposals based on the results next summer.

"There is now no question of exploratory drilling", Rutte said. This was in response to questions from the opposition parties on what the PvdA's new standpoint will mean, especially for municipalities with target locations for exploratory drilling.