Parliamentary inquiry into Groningen gas extraction announced

Milieudefensie and Groningen residents dump fracking earthquake rubble in front of the Ministry of Economic Affairs in The Hague, 26 Oct 2017
Milieudefensie and Groningen residents dump fracking earthquake rubble in front of the Ministry of Economic Affairs in The Hague, 26 Oct 2017. (Photo: @milieudefensie / Twitter)

A parliamentary inquiry will be done into . The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, unanimously supported this. According to the Kamer, it will be good for the restoration of Groningen's trust in politics if there is accountability for choices made by persons, organizations and institutions. When exactly the inquiry will start is not yet clear, but it is unlikely that it will start earlier than next year, NOS reports. 

GroenLinks and the PvdA previously proposed launching an inquiry into gas extraction, but the motion was delayed. After consultation with all other parties in the Tweede Kamer, the text has now been adjusted and representatives from all parties signed it. 

The new motion explicitly states that the inquiry must not lead to delays in repairing the damage caused by fracking earthquakes or in combating the risks of further quakes and damage. According to the motion, the inquiry will start when the "physical reinforcement of the most risky dwellings has structurally started, as well as the claims settlement process". The motion states that two implementing organizations must be set up and legally anchored, and they must be functioning before the inquiry starts.

This involves the Institute for Mining Damage and the Institute for Reinforcement Organization. The legislative amendment in which these Institutes are regulated is expected to be submitted to the Kamer later this year. 

Parliamentary inquiries are relatively rare in the Netherlands. They're considered a harsh measure, in which witnesses are obliged to testify under oath. The last such inquiry happened between 2013 and 2016 and focused on the so-called around the train connection between the Netherlands and Belgium. 

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