Further gas cuts wanted as local VVD splits from nat'l party
The Provincial Faction of the VVD in Groningen wants the natural gas extraction quota in the province to be dropped to 17.5 million cubic meters in the first half of the year.
Mark Boumans, VVD candidate for Groningen said today he wants the quota dropped now and a decision over the rest of the year before June. “Maybe we find then that it needs to be dropped even more,” he told broadcaster RTV Noord.
His demands are a direct opposition of a recent announcement by VVD Economic Affairs Minister Henk Kamp that this year’s gas quota stands at 39.4 cubic meters. The party’s Tweede Kamer, or lower house of Parliament, faction specialist André Bosman called Kamp’s announcement “a wise decision.”
Last month, VVD parliamentarian Rene Leegte was overheard saying that he would like to see the research into the link between earthquakes and gas exploration in Groningen hampered, so that production remains high.
The contradictory targets on the gas quota come just about a month before the provincial elections. While Boumans’ opinion deviates from that of his fellow party members –at Tweede Kamer and Minister’s level- it finds no opposition at the provincial level. PvdA and ChristenUnie, which rival the VVD in the upcoming Groningen provincial elections, have both also indicated that they want the gas quota dropped; their aim is 30 million cubic meters per year. The parties argue that a slashed quota would reduce the risk of earthquakes.
VVD's Provincial Faction has also suggested that Netherlands Crude Oil Exploration Company NAM pays all additional costs to make buildings and roads in Groningen more earthquake proof.