Labour rolls over on gas extraction issue

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The PvdA decided to support Minister Henk Kamp's (Economic Affairs) new gas decision after all, NU reports. A final decision on the reduction of gas extraction in Groningen will only be made on July 1st.

Last night PvdA Parliamentarian Jan Vos handed in a motion in which he asks Kamp to reduce the extraction to the lowest possible level from July 1st. He did not however insist on a decision before July 1st. He considers it "unthinkable" that more than 35 billion cubic meters of gas will be extracted over the entire year. Vos regretted that the other parties did not stand behind his motion, which was co-signed by the VVD.  He accused the opposition of "playing Hague games".

According to the opposition parties, the coalition-motion keeps the option open that 39.4 billion cubic meters of gas could still be extracted. And that is what is upsetting the residents of Groningen. They want clarity about their safety. And that include a reduced gas extraction for the entire year.

Earlier in the debate the PvdA still called on Minister Kamp to reduce the gas extraction to the lowest possible level (35 billion cubic meters) with immediate effect. Kamp did not agree. He said that he would only draw a conclusion based on advice. To reduce the extraction now would not go along with "the care that may be expected from a minister", Kamp said according to NU. Kamp did say that he will not rule out the possibility that the extraction level will be deceased to the level of supply security (domestic demand and gas export commitments) in July.

On Monday Minister Kamp announced that the gas extraction in Groningen will be reduced to 16.5 billion cubic meters for the first half of this year. The gas decision of 39.4 billion cubic meters remained in place, however.

Last night's parliamentary debate was attended by a large number of Groningen residents. They sang the national anthem before the start of the debate and occasionally made noise during the discussions.