Groningen province to sue Dutch minister to halt gas extraction

The Groningen provincial government has stated that it intends to press a case with the Council of State against the Dutch government if drastic measures are not implemented to reduce gas extraction in the province, the NRC reported Tuesday. The Minister of Economic Affairs, Henk Kamp, is expected to propose a five percent decrease in gas extraction during a stop in Groningen on Wednesday, which would cost the Netherlands about €500 million in annual revenue.

The reduction would be in line what the State Supervision of Mines (SoDM) recommended to Kamp in a confidential report, the newspaper says. They have twice before cautioned the minister that a reduction in output is necessary for the safety of the region. An increase in earthquakes there has been linked to the earth settling beneath the gas field.

Residents of Groningen are furious. The value of their property is depreciating at a rapid rate; a result of the damage caused by earthquakes, directly linked to the gas extraction.

Kamp said the earthquakes are a new "fact of life" for those residing in Groningen. He stunned residents in October when he said that earthquakes fit “in the pattern that we had in our minds when we made the agreements” about gas extraction.

Dutch government announced it's aim on January 17 this year to reduce gas output gradually over three years. The minister has until Wednesday afternoon to decide if he will further reduce gas production.

There is no guarantee that a decision from the minister to further reduce gas production, will in any way ensure the safety of the Groningen.



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