Vermilion Energy has supportive voices in high places
Translated by Thomas Ansell
As reported by the Omrop Fryslân, the Dutch Raad van State has sided with multinational fossil fuel company Vermilion against local residents; who tried to stop drilling for gas under their homes on the border between Friesland and Drenthe.
The Raad van State or ‘Council of State’ is a constitutionally-appointed body of ‘independent experts’ that advises the Dutch government, and has been operating in some way or another since 1531. Whilst supposedly completely free of bias, its members are all appointed in their later years and generally have backgrounds as high-level lawyers and civil servants, although (naturally) ex-bankers, economists, and politicians are invited to join as well. The Dutch King is the chair of the council, but generally doesn’t take part in its meetings.
In any case, now that the Raad van State has had its say, gas extraction will go ahead in various places on the Westvierdeparten in Vinkega, and at the Schapendrift in Noordwolde. The Gemeente Westerveld, along with the environmental group Milieudefensie had brought the case against Vermilion on the basis that the Canadian multinational hadn’t done enough preparation work to ensure that their drilling and extraction wouldn’t cause earthquakes and sinkholes.
The Raad van State, however, thought that the plans for gas extraction did include consideration of “cumulative ground sinkage”, and so permitted Vermilion to pump gas out from under our feet until 2034.