Minister Blok: final decision on gas extraction Wadden Sea not by March

Demissionary Minister Blok expects the cabinet not to make a final decision on a permit for gas extraction under the Wadden Sea by March next year. Thats what he said in a debate in the House of Representatives.

Last month it was announced that the demissionary minister of economic affairs plans to authorize the NAM for extraction at Ternaard. According to him, research has shown that gas extraction is possible in a way that is safe for humans and the environment and that the impact on subsidence is limited.

He considers that there are no legal possibilities to refuse the permit if all legal conditions are met. โ€œBut views can still be submitted that could give rise to the adaptation of the draft decisions,โ€ he wrote to the Chamber this week.

Room does its own research

Bloks approach is a lot of criticism. Nature organizations, Provincial States of Friesland and part of the Chamber believe that no new gas extraction under the Wadden Sea should be allowed anymore. The Chamber first has a legal examination of whether extraction can be stopped. Among others, D66 MP Boucke asked Blok not to take โ€œirreversible stepsโ€ before the House has received the advice and was able to speak about it.

Blok said that he cannot just intervene in an ongoing procedure, reiterating that gas extraction will not cause any demonstrable damage. โ€œBut there are opportunities for hearing and reciprocal and that part is running now.โ€ He asked the Chamber to have the research on the table on time so that Cabinet and Chamber can talk about it again in January, for example. So he expects the final decision in March.

One million dollar question

Part of the Chamber calls on the Cabinet not to grant a permit as long as it is still demissionary. But, according to Blok, thats โ€œrule of law not possibleโ€. He stressed that the cabinet makes a decision on a permit under the conditions laid down by law, whether it is demissionary or not.

When asked if Blok expects a missionary cabinet to be in March, he replied: โ€œThats the one million dollar question. The interesting thing is that the Chamber is about that, and I dont.โ€