Gas drilling in Wadden Sea can be blocked by refusing permit: Think Tank
Minister Carola Schouten of Agriculture, Nature, and Food Quality can refuse to grant a permit for gas extraction under the Wadden Sea. The Wadden Academy think tank came to this conclusion after studying the current nature regulations at the request of the Standing Committee on Economic Affairs and Climate in parliament.
According to the five experts of the Wadden Academy, four of whom are professors from different disciplines, a permit should only be issued if there is no doubt about the adverse effects of the gas drilling under the Natura 2000 area. There are doubts about this, and the government must refuse the permit based on the EU Habitats Directive and the Nature Protection Act, the Wadden Academy said.
"According to the Minister, no adverse consequences for nature are expected in the short term," the Wadden Academy wrote in its advice. However, according to the experts, the Minister takes too little account of uncertainties, including when calculating the relationship between subsidence, sedimentation, and sea-level rise.
There is a great deal of social resistance against the plans for new gas drilling in the Wadden Sea near Ternaard in Friesland. Natural gas has been extracted from small fields in the Wadden area since the 1980s. The Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM), which Shell and ExxonMobil own, pumps gas from under the mudflats near Ameland and Blija.
Reporting by ANP