Susan Top, the secretary of the Groninger Gasberaad, says that leaders across the north need to stand up to economic minister Eric Wiebes.
Translation by Traci White
The Groninger Gasberaad is a collective of social organisations representing a wide range of sectors. The group’s objective is to ensure maximum involvement of citizens living in the induced earthquake-impacted areas in the development and implementation of plans by the National Coordinator Groningen.
It has been nearly a year since a 3.4 magnitude earthquake struck the Groningen town of Zeerijp, and in an interview with Dagblad van het Noorden, Top expressed her dismay at how few local leaders are willing to stand up to Wiebes. “Wiebes is giving the impression that he is staying on top of the earthquake situation by talking about ending gas extraction, and settling damages claims and setting money aside. But in reality, the claims settlement process has yet to be set in stone.”
Top says that many politicians in The Hague seem to be under the impression that Wiebe’s efforts have sorted out the induced earthquake problem. But according to Top, that could not be further from the truth: restoration and repair operations are at a virtual stand still at the moment. Processing damage claims remains akin to pulling teeth, due in large part to the focus being on the technical aspect of repairs rather than on the well being of the people who are impacted by having their property damaged.
As far as the Groninger Gasberaad is concerned, now is the time for local leaders to truly bare their teeth. Top is calling for regional decision-makers to take control of the reinforcement operations, fight back against an institutionalised and bureaucratic approach and to guarantee long term financing.