Groningen residents dump rubble at Economics Ministry in gas extraction protest

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

Groningen residents and environmental group Milieudefensie dumped a pile of rubble in front of the Ministry of Economic Affairs in The Hague on Thursday morning. The rubble comes from monumental farms that were damaged by earthquakes caused by gas extraction in the province. The protesters wants Minister Eric Wiebes of Economic Affairs and Climate to be faced with the consequences of his predecessors' decisions on his first day at the office, NOS reports. 

"We are here on his first working day to show what the Groningers are dealing with daily", Jorien de Lege of Milieudefensie said to the broadcaster, calling the earthquake rubble the "heavy inheritance" of Wiebes' predecessors. "The Netherlands is gas-addicted. Accelerating the closing of the gas tap should be on top of his priority list." The environmental group created a gas extraction file especially for Wiebes. This is the third government to be presented with such a file.

"The new government agreement gives us little hope for a new future. We cannot wait another four years", De Lege said. As of the start of October, gas extraction in Groningen stands at a limit of 21.6 billion cubic meters per year. "The government says it's committed to reducing it, but that ambition does not go beyond a reduction to 20 billion cubic meters by 2021." The protesters wants Wiebes to work on a quick transition to sustainable and affordable cooking and heating. 

This past summer Milieudefensie went to the administrative court to demand that the government reviews the gas extraction amount on a yearly basis. The expectation is that the Council of State will rule on this case in November.

The entrances to the Ministry are not blocked by the rubble, which will be removed at the end of the day. 

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