Court orders criminal investigation against NAM over fracking earthquake damage

The Public Prosecutor must investigate whether NAM was guilty of damaging housing, possibly creating life threatening situations, in the gas extraction area in Groningen, the Arnhem-Leeuwarden court ruled on Thursday, NOS reports.

The case was filed by the Groninger Bodem Beweging (GBB) an a number of individuals from the gas extraction area. The Groningen residents say they are dealing with, in some cases severe, damage to their homes caused by earthquakes that resulted from years of gas extraction. 

The Public Prosecutor initially decided not to investigate, because the case does not fall under criminal law. But the court disagrees. According to the court, there are indications that NAM violated Article 170 of the Criminal Code - damaging homes, possibly creating life threatening situations. The judges ruled that the Prosecutor should investigate whether this can be proven for the period between January 1993 and April 2015. Based on that investigation, a decision can be made on whether or not to prosecute the Dutch oil and gas giant.

GBB is delighted by the ruling. The GGB trusts that the Ministry of Justice will use "all possible means to get NAM condemned" as soon as possible, a spokesperson said to NOS.

Earlier this week Minister Henk Kamp of Economic Affairs announced that gas extraction in Groningen will be reduced by a further 10 percent as of October 1st. 


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