GroenLinks has filed parliamentary questions after a letter sent to the National Coordinator Groningen by mistake shed light on NAM’s role in evaluating earthquake damage.
Translation by Traci White
Tom van der Lee, a GroenLinks MP, submitted formal questions in the Dutch Parliament on Wednesday following revelations in Dagblad van het Noorden. The Groningen paper broke the story that a letter from natural gas company NAM that was addressed to NEN (Nederlandse Normen) and research institution TNO was sent to the National Coordinator office by mistake.
According to Hans Alders, the recently departed leader of the National Coordinator office, the correspondence was evidence of NAM continuing to influence the earthquake damage evaluation and compensation process. Alders stepped down one week prior to the letter being sent.
The letter included “concrete proposals” from NAM for how to scale back reinforcement measures, information about how damage compensation was being allocated and the natural gas company’s own stance on how to go about reinforcing 1,588 damaged homes. Those homes have been a point of contention for months: they have already been evaluated, but repairs have not yet been carried out.
Economic minister Eric Wiebes has repeatedly stated that NAM will no longer be involved in evaluating and compensating damage claims. Alders told Dagblad van het Noorden that the correspondence suggests that NAM is still attempting to influence the process of reinforcing homes in the induced earthquake region. NAM and NEN objected to Alders’ characterisation of the letter: in a response to Alders, a representative from NAM stated that the letter was simply providing technical information to the companies, and NEN described it as “a misunderstanding.”