Third earthquake this week strikes as gas firm heads to court
The province of Groningen was hit by the third earthquake in one week's time on Sunday morning. The earthquake struck just one day before the lawsuit filed by large group of Groningen residents against the Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij appeared in court in Assen. The earthquake happened at 1:39 a.m. on Sunday. Its epicenter was in the village Loppersum and it had a magnitude of 2.0 on the Richter scale, NU reports. The previous two earthquakes, which happened on Tuesday and Thursday, were less powerful with magnitudes of 0.7 and 1.0 respectively on the Richter scale. The foundation Waardedaling door Aarbevingen Groningen, or Value Depreciation by Earthquakes Groningen in English, filed the lawsuit against NAM because of the value depreciation of 100 thousand homes in the earthquake zone as a result of earthquakes caused by gas production, RTL Nieuws reports. According to the foundation, hardly any homes are being sold in parts of the province. A total of 900 private owners and 12 housing associations want the NAM to compensate them for the decline in value in advance, even if a property has not been damaged. NAM is refusing to do so and will only pay compensation once a home has been sold. NAM director Gerald Schotman is not present in the court in Assen today. The lawyers acting on behalf of the foundation have hefty criticism on his absence, saying that Schotman is not taking the matter seriously. "He obviously does not find it important."