Earthquake spoils minister's fracking visit

Overnight, another earthquake hit the province of Groningen with a magnitude of 2.0 on Richter scale, reports the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, KNMI. The quake is believed to be caused by gas extraction in the Hoogezand-Sappemeer municipality. 

Only a few damage reports were filed so far, since not many people felt the quake of this force, KNMI states. Residents have been able to file damage reports at the Center of Safe Housing (CVW) since January 5th and the Dutch Petroleum Company (NAM) reimburses the damages caused in the gas extraction areas.

The Minister of Economic Affairs, Henk Kamp (VVD) is commenting on the new gas decision with involved parties and victims united in the Dialogue Table in Groningen Monday afternoon. The purpose of the Dialogue Table is to achieve widely supported measures to offset the negative effects of gas production.

The minister stated last month that the gas extraction will be cut back by 7 percent and that the strengthening of the homes in the risk areas should be sped up.

A report by the Dutch Safety Investigation Board that leaked on Friday says that NAM and the Ministry of Economic Affairs did not take the safety of the residents into account, but just viewed the output of the gas production. This is why the action group "Schokkend Groningen" wants to get rid of Minister Kamp.

The group organized several loud protest actions in Groningen Monday.