Unfortunately, though, the Wadden Sea isn’t safe from further exploitation for natural gas yet
Translated by Thomas Ansell
An independent study conducted on behalf of the Dutch government has recommended that no license should be granted for further gas extraction in the Wadden Sea area, reports the Omrop Fryslân. Outgoing Farming, Nature, and Food Minister Carola Schouten (ChristenUnie) reportedly now has little excuse to grant the permit.
Previously the outgoing Minister of Economics and Climate Stef Blok said that he was unable to prevent further gas extraction, because the company that had applied for a permit had fulfilled its obligations. However, the Dutch Tweede Kamer then commissioned a second, scientific, opinion.
The report concludes that damage to the natural environment ‘cannot be completely prevented’, and so recommends against granting a permit for exploitation. The research was carried out by the Waddenacademie, following claims from Tweede Kamer members that the minister hadn’t considered the consequences of extraction fully.
It is possible that a permit could be granted to suck the gas out from under Ternaard, though, if a judicial review overturns all of the current recommendations. Were that to be the case, the court would have to rule that gas extraction had no alternative, that it fulfils an ‘urgent need’ in general, and that all damage was to be compensated in the future. It is unlikely, say researchers, that the Dutch government would pursue this route.