The House of Representatives wants the cabinet to ensure that new railway lines are built to Groningen in the coming years. This must be part of the compensation for natural gas extraction.
The House of Representatives is very critical of the role of Prime Minister Mark Rutte in recent years. During a debate on the report of the parliamentary committee of inquiry on Natural Gas Extraction Groningen, all parties criticized the too lax attitude of the prime minister, who, the committee concluded, ‘has not made a difference’. It took too long before the problems in Groningen were taken seriously. A motion of no confidence will be tabled on Wednesday during the remainder of the debate, MP Wybren van Haga (BVNL) already announced. The vote on this will take place next Tuesday.
Stone of contention is also that gas extraction in Groningen was increased in 2013, while the first warnings were that it had to be reduced in order to prevent the earthquakes. The House feels lied to because Rutte’s cabinet at the time stated that gas extraction could not be reduced because otherwise there would be too little gas for homes and businesses. However, it is now clear that there was already a report that showed that extraction could indeed be reduced without major problems. That information was withheld by civil servants from then Minister Henk Kamp (Economic Affairs).
In addition to Rutte being responsible for all mistakes made, the House also wants more certainty that the government’s promises will be fulfilled that the damage to the houses in Groningen will be repaired more quickly. Houses in the earthquake area must also be repaired more quickly so that they are not damaged in future earthquakes. In addition, according to the promises, the region will receive 250 million euros every year for the next three decades, for example to stimulate employment.
A large part of the House wants that money to be used, among other things, to build new railway lines in the region: the Lelylijn (Lelystad Groningen) and the Nedersaksenlijn (Emmen-Stadskanaal). Both lines have been discussed for a long time and preparations have already been made, but it is not yet certain that they will come. “Those lines must actually be realized,” says ChristenUnie leader Mirjam Bikker. There seems to be a parliamentary majority for it. VVD and CDA also want to hurry. “There are still too many battles around the arm with those railway lines,” says CDA MP Eline Vedder.
Shell and Exxon
A majority also seems to want better guarantees that the compensation money for Groningen will also be reserved in the future when a new cabinet takes office. Finally, a large part of the House wants oil companies Shell and Exxon (the owners of the Groningen gas field) to be forced to pay more money to Groningen.
Rutte and State Secretary Hans Vijlbrief (Mining) must defend themselves against all criticism on Wednesday. The opposition parties said in the debate on Tuesday evening that they expect that a vote of no confidence will not reach a majority. They think that it is not critical enough of Rutte. ,,But what must happen before government parties say for once: enough is enough?” BBB MP Caroline van der Plas wondered.
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