Progress in PvdA plan for Groningen earthquake compensation

The Labour Party (PvdA) is making headway with its plan to reverse the burden of proof of earthquake damages caused by gas extraction in Groningen, reports De Telegraaf. MP Jan Vos submitted a proposal to this effect to Cabinet, he said on Wednesday. The Cabinet will have the chance to vote on the proposal Tuesday, says the newspaper.

At present, victims must prove that any damage to their property was caused by an earthquake.

Vos' proposal goes against the wishes of economics minister Henk Kamp, reports De Telegraaf. Minister Kamp sees no advantages in speeding up a compensation process for earthquake damage claims in the northern Dutch province. He reasons that burden of proof only applies in court, and no individual so far has brought a case to court. According to Kamp, people want more than just quick and appropriate compensation. He wants to continue seeking ways to keep people out of court.

Vos does not agree with Kamp's plan of slowing down the damage claims, and feels the negotiations would take too long.

Kamp wants to go forward on other matters and discuss the claims later this year. However, the PvdA and the Party for the Animals (PvdD) want to reverse the burden of proof so that the claims can be handled more efficiently, something the lower house of the Dutch parliament is sympathetic to.

The handling of the disputed issue was made easier earlier this week when the Dutch petroleum company NAM officially apologized for causing earthquakes in Groningen by extracting gas in the area.The apology was the company's response to the Safety Board report, which was published in February.