Labour MPs will not back shale gas extraction following congress vote

The 38 Labour MPs will vote against sanctioning drilling for shale gas in the Netherlands, party leader Diederik Samsom said on Wednesday evening at a May Day meeting.

Members will be given a second chance to change their position if it emerges shale gas can be extracted cleanly and safely, without risk to water supplies, Samsom said.

Labour party members voted against shale gas extraction at their conference in Leeuwarden last weekend. MPs had earlier indicated they will vote in favour.

The PvdA’s coalition partner – the right wing VVD – supports the idea, saying it could be a solution to energy shortages.

Three locations

According to Nos television, a British company has plans to carry out test exploration in three locations in the Netherlands: in the Noordoostpolder, near Boxtel and near Haaren.

The economic affairs ministry is currently carrying out research into the effect of shale gas extraction which will be published in July. Only then will ministers decide what the cabinet should do about the issue.

Shale gas is ordinary natural gas that has been trapped in dense shale beds. It is extracted using a controversial process known as fracking, which involves drilling a hole deep into the shale and pumping in water mixed with sand and chemicals.

A number of local councils, water boards and even brewing groups like Heineken have come out against the production of shale gas because of the risk of pollution.

Earlier stories
Ruling parties support shale gas extraction, if done cleanly
Shale gas production marginal, says minister as opposition mounts
Opponents are winning the shale gas war