This ANP photo shows people from Friesland province in the Netherlands demonstrating in the Hague against gas extraction by Vermilion corporation, with a Frisian flag and arguing against Minister Wiebes of of Economic Affairs and Climate, member of the right-wing VVD party.
Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:
The Dutch [right-wing] government and the municipality of Smallingerland are facing each other in court today. The Frisian municipality has amended a zoning plan to prevent new gas extraction in the outlying area, but the government believes that Smallingerland is thereby going against national rules.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate
Minister: Wiebes, of the pro-Big Business VVD party
went to the Council of State to challenge the zoning plan. This is unique: never before has the government dragged a municipality before the highest administrative court in connection with gas extraction.
Several small gas fields can be found in the Smallingerland municipality (56,000 inhabitants). That gas is already being extracted in a number of places, but now that the gas extraction in Groningen is being diminished,
because of the enormous earthquake damage by Shell and Exxon gas extraction there
such small fields are getting more and more into the spotlight.
The local council is afraid of subsidence
and maybe also earthquakes like in Groningen
and therefore does not want to give permission for preparatory research for the drilling of new wells. In addition, the municipality believes that more gas extraction is not necessary.
“We want to make the transition to sustainable energy. We need gas for that for the time being, but that is being produced sufficiently in the Netherlands. I cannot explain to my residents that we need to get rid of the gas, but that at the same time there is drilling for extra gas at new locations”, says GroenLinks party alderman Piet de Ruiter.
De Ruiter says that the decision of the municipality follows the line of the national government. “The national government coalition agreement states that there will be no new permits for gas extraction. In our opinion, we are acting neatly in line with government policy.” The fact that the government went to the Council of State came as a surprise to De Ruiter.
The multinational gas corporation which the national government helps against the Smallingerland people is Vermilion from Canada. Also in the Dutch Utrecht province and in North Brabant province there are protests against them.
See also here:
Smallingerland’s provisional zoning plan was available to the public for six weeks last year. Everyone, including the national government, could have objected then, but that did not happen.
Smallingerland is close to the beauty spot, national park De Alde Feanen.
When it comes to groundwater quality, fracking receives much of the public attention but misses most of the picture, according to hydrogeologists Jennifer McIntosh from the University of Arizona and Grant Ferguson from the University of Saskatchewan (USask). “There’s a critical need for long-term — years to decades — monitoring for potential contamination of drinking water resources not only from fracking, but also from conventional oil and gas production,” McIntosh said: here.