Groningen Gas Act can still be dealt with quickly

State Secretary Vijlbrief in the debate next to Minister Jetten

NOS Newstoday, 11:08Amended today, 2:05 PM

VVD MP Van den Berg said he did not realize that the processing of a bill on security of supply could possibly take another year and a half. The fact that he wants to link the law on ending gas extraction to the law on security of supply is based on a misunderstanding, he said today. As far as he is concerned, the ‘termination bill’ can now be dealt with quickly by the Senate.

At Van den Berg’s proposal, the Senate decided yesterday not to put the law on permanently closing the Groningen gas tap on the agenda. Due to concerns about security of supply, the VVD member first wanted to wait for the law on the gas market to be dealt with. That led to disbelief and angry reactions.

Now Van den Berg says that there will be another round of questions and that the Senate can discuss the law immediately afterwards. It is almost certain that the Senate, like the House of Representatives, will then agree with a large majority on the definitive closure.

Filing letter: do not experience any longer delay

Earlier today, outgoing State Secretary Vijlbrief of Mining said in a parliamentary debate that he would not accept it if the Senate postponed the consideration of the law for a long time. He said he “will not experience a longer delay than a few weeks politically.” Vijlbrief said emotionally that he would leave differently. “Then I will sit in the House of Representatives and play my role there.”

Yesterday Vijlbrief reacted with surprise to the developments in the Senate, but today this has turned into “slight anger”. “The State Supervision of Mines has been saying for years that there is only one safe level of extraction in Groningen and that is zero,” the State Secretary said. “There are real risks.”

Emotional Vijl letter threatens to resign if Gas Act is postponed

VVD: political decision stands

In today’s House of Representatives debate, VVD MP Erkens said he supports stopping gas production in Groningen. “We made that political decision in the House of Representatives. That is very simple,” he emphasized.

Erkens said that he also wants more to be done about security of supply in the longer term, but that this is separate from the decision to stop.

Angry reactions

In the House of Representatives debate, various parties reacted angrily to yesterday’s events in the Senate. Groningen SP MP Beckerman said that she did not sleep at all. “Groningen has been cheated by politics for years. Now it could finally happen, and then there is another postponement.” GroenLinks-PvdA MP Kröger called it impossible to allow the uncertainty to continue.

And Party for the Animals spokesperson Teunissen spoke of a gross scandal. According to her, postponement also entails “real risks”.

Van der Plas: not a second of doubt

The forming parties PVV, NSC and BBB are not participating in the parliamentary debate today. In the Senate yesterday, the PVV and BBB supported the VVD’s request to postpone consideration of the law.

BBB leader Van der Plas said this morning before a new round of formation talks that he has no doubts that the gas tap will be closed: “The Senate faction is also 100 percent in favor of closing it.”

NSC leader Omtzigt said this morning that the Senate is of course independent, but the postponement has “greatly surprised” him. He thinks that this does not do much good for the confidence of the people of Groningen in the government.

Omtzigt also said that NSC, which is not represented in the Senate, was not involved in the decision.

The article is in Dutch

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