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Dutch parliamentary inquiry releases damning report into authorities’s dealing with of pure fuel extraction

A Dutch parliamentary inquiry launched a damning report Friday into the federal government’s dealing with of profitable pure fuel extraction that triggered a string of earthquakes within the northern province of Groningen, saying that authorities put income earlier than folks.

“The pursuits of the folks of Groningen have been structurally ignored in pure fuel extraction in Groningen, with disastrous penalties for the folks of Groningen,” the fee stated in a press release.

The conclusions within the practically 2,000-page report are the newest damaging blow to the credibility of Dutch governments which were led for greater than a decade by Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

He declined Friday to react to the report’s findings, however acknowledged that the conclusions have been “exhausting and painful” and underscore why folks in Groningen “are indignant and unhappy and that folks really feel unsafe and deserted.”

Two years in the past, Rutte’s final ruling coalition resigned over a parliamentary inquiry’s report right into a scandal over efforts to stamp out baby welfare cost fraud that wrongly labeled 1000’s of oldsters as fraudsters.


Hans Vijlbrief, the federal government’s minister in control of mines, stated Friday was a day for the folks of Groningen and never for political penalties.

“I, myself, really feel disgrace about what has occurred right here and which means we now have to do one thing about it,” he instructed reporters.

Gas was extracted in Groningen for many years by a consortium together with vitality giants Shell and ExxonMobil earlier than the Dutch authorities, spurred into motion by the quakes that have been shaking properties within the area, took a choice in 2018 to progressively cease pumping fuel out of the bottom.

The Dutch state earned 363 billion euros from Groningen fuel, the report stated. Extraction from the Groningen subject — one of many world’s largest at 2,800 billion cubic meters — has now all however stopped, with solely sufficient pumped to maintain fuel installations within the area operational. The subject isn’t anticipated to re-open even amid the vitality worries prompted by Russia’s yearlong warfare in Ukraine.

Thousands of households are nonetheless ready for his or her properties to be strengthened after years of shaking broken buildings. Thousands extra are awaiting compensation.

A farm in Hunzinge, Netherlands, is pictured on Jan. 19, 2018. A parliamentary inquiry released a report on Feb. 24, 2023, into the government's handling of lucrative natural gas extraction which caused multiple earthquakes.

A farm in Hunzinge, Netherlands, is pictured on Jan. 19, 2018. A parliamentary inquiry launched a report on Feb. 24, 2023, into the federal government’s dealing with of profitable pure fuel extraction which triggered a number of earthquakes. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

An group that represents lots of them, Groninger Bodem Beweging, stated the inquiry report might be summed up with the phrases: “Too little, too late,” and referred to as for motion from the federal government.


The fee stated the federal government and vitality corporations used what they referred to as “safety of provide” as a “smoke display screen.”

It made a string of suggestions, together with that the federal government make the processing of claims for injury simpler, guarantee sufficient cash is accessible for compensation and strengthen the position of the nation’s mining regulator.

Marjan van Loon, president director of Shell Netherlands, stated the report was proper to deal with the plight of individuals in Groningen.

“Groningen residents bore a big a part of the burden of fuel manufacturing and noticed solely a small a part of the advantages,” she stated in a written assertion.

“As an organization, we now have vital classes to be taught right here. Looking to the long run, we consider that issues can and have to be improved. We are due to this fact engaged in discussions with the federal government to discover a strategy to make this occur,” she added.

ExxonMobil didn’t instantly react.

NAM, the Dutch fuel drilling firm that features Shell and ExxonMobil, acknowledged in a written assertion that it had “performed an vital position on this disaster.”

The firm’s director, Johan Atema, stated “it’s clear that we should pay extra consideration to the society by which we work. It is as much as us to indicate that we, as an organization, from realized from this.”

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