Earthquake, gas debate needed before elections: Opposition MPs

A number of opposition parties yesterday tried to get a debate on gas extraction in Groningen and the risks entailed in it on the agenda before the elections, NU reports. This is following the highly critical report by the Dutch Safety Board on the issue, which was published last week.

The report shows that the safety of Groningen residence played no role in the decision making on gas extraction in the province in 2013. According to the Research Council, the involved parties saw the safety risks entailed in gas extraction as "negligible". The Council thinks that the safety of residents in the province was not handled carefully.

Minister Henk Kamp of Economic Affairs has stated repeatedly that he will only have a response by the end of March at the earliest. The coalition parties, VVD and PvdA, wants to hold off on the debate until the government has responded to the report.

Opposition parties thinks that the coalition is delaying this sensitive issue to tilt the elections on March 18th their way. Yesterday the opposition tried to get a thirty members debate (the new name for a emergency debate). Kamer President Anouchka van Miltenburg (VVD) stated that this debate goes onto the pile with other requests for thirty member debates. Several parties then requested that these other requests be removed and then resubmitted again later.

It is unclear whether this will work. Van Mltenburg takes suggestions from the Kamer into consideration when setting up the agenda. This will probably be voted on today.