The House of Representatives did not know that for years, much more natural gas was being extracted in Groningen than was strictly necessary. Former MPs said that before the parliamentary committee of inquiry today. For example, the fact that Gasterra had calculated that no more than 27 billion cubic metres of gas was required for security of supply was never shared with the House. In fact, in 2013, there was twice as much profit, 54 billion cubic metres.
With this record production, the urgent warning from the State Mines Supervision to win less as quickly as possible was ignored. The SoDm came to that advice, because gas extraction became too dangerous for people in Groningen due to earthquakes. The fact that “the security of supply was discussed for a year was therefore nonsense”, said former MP Jan Vos (PvdA).
When he heard a year later that the extraction had even gone to 54 billion, he said he was furious and dumbfounded. Now that he heard during the survey that it could have been much less right away, Vos slept badly, he said. “So everyone in the Gas Building, including the minister, knew that extraction could reach 27 billion cubic metres.”
Just not laughed at
time, Liesbeth van Tongeren, former MP for GroenLinks, proposed reducing gas extraction by 40 percent, but received support from almost no party. “I just wasnt laughed at, but it was close,” she said today. “But at that time, I didnt know that it was already known at the ministry that production could best go down.” When she then heard that gas extraction had just been further increased, she “fell back steeply”.
René Leegte, former MP for the VVD, found the argument of his fellow minister Kamp not to reduce gas extraction “credible at the time”. He now believes that the House of Representatives was not sufficiently informed. “What you found out then, and its complicated to understand, is that it wasnt so much a decision to produce more, but there wasnt an active decision to cut back.”
Emptty believes that he should have been better informed at the time of the reasons why no action was taken. “Because then, as the House of Representatives, you will be helped to weigh the decision.” Groenlinkser Van Tongeren said that the House of Representatives has failed in its controlling task.
Van Tongeren said that at the time she received so little information that she started working as a “private investigator” herself. Her continued question why gas extraction couldnt do less, “always came across a wall of: no, this is necessary.” But in the gas world, she heard that there were indeed opportunities. Incidentally, according to Van Tongeren, the information that the House of Representatives receives about gas extraction today is still insufficient.
During the interrogations, it was also about claims handling. Van Tongeren called the way in which people from Groningen were treated dehumanizing. During a home visit, she looked out through a crack in the wall in a childrens room. People with damage were told that it was caused by moles, F-16s that passed through the sound barrier, or by teenagers who had hit with the doors. A very large group of people in our country has been destroyed, said Van Tongeren.
René Leegte got emotional when it came to the moment in 2015 when he became a disagreement and resigned the VVD spokesperson for gas extraction. An overheard phone call during a train trip back from Groningen, posted on Twitter, led to a riot. The idea was that he advocated more research as a diversion and, in the meantime, wanted to keep gas extraction at a high level.
But according to Leegte, the fork was different. Yet he has done very little to correct the image. He didnt want the discussion to be about his person for much longer. “Is it about you, or about the content? I thought it should be about content.”