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  • January 17th, 2014

Most MPs want to reduce gas extraction in Groningen

An apparent U-turn by VVD parliamentarians means a majority of MPs now support reducing the amount of gas being pumped from under Groningen.

‘There should be less gas… that was the aim already because the gas in Slochteren is running out,’ says VVP MP René Leegte.

Also, locals whose property has been damaged by earthquakes resulting from the gas extraction should be generously compensated, Leegte said.

Economic affairs minister Henk Kamp is due to decide shortly what to do about the gas fields, which generate millions of euros a year for the treasury.

The government’s mine inspectors last year recommended a slowdown in extraction, but figures show NAM actually pumped out more gas than originally planned.

The change of heart by the ruling VVD comes two months ahead of the local elections and a sharp rise in local anti-goverment sentiment.

Three investigations into the direct cause of the Groningen quakes and their impact on locals are currently underway. Many people are concerned about the effect on the value of their property.

NAM has said it will take steps to prevent damage to vulnerable buildings and is looking at ways to extract gas with less far-reaching effects. It describes the risks as ‘acceptable and manageable’.

NAM has had 9,100 reports of damage to homes in the region over the past year.

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