‘Labour MPs unconvinced by report, are opposed to shale gas plans’

Labour party MPs oppose drilling for shale gas in the Netherlands, making it unlikely there will be a parliamentary majority in favour, local paper Brabants Dagblad reports on Thursday.

‘The recent report… into the risks of extracting shale gas has not convinced us it can be done cleanly and safely. On this basis we cannot agree to test drilling,’ the paper quotes Labour spokesman Jan Vos as saying.

The report by civil engineering consultancy Witteveen+Bos for economic affairs minister Henk Kamp concluded the risks attached to extracting shale gas are manageable.

Cabinet

Only the VVD support test drilling but the plans have been given the backing of the VVD-Labour cabinet.

Vos said he does not expect Labour’s decision to lead to a conflict with its government coalition partner. ‘There is nothing about shale gas in the coalition agreement,’ he said.

Meanwhile, research quoted by website nu.nl also shows widespread opposition to shale gas within Labour circles in local government.

Some 45% say they oppose shale gas extraction while 37% are extremely opposed. In particular they are concerned about the impact on the environment, nu.nl said.

Licences

British company Cuadrilla Resources has already applied for licences to carry out test drilling in three places in the Netherlands – Boxtel, Haaren and Noordoostpolder.

Shale gas is ordinary natural gas that has been trapped in dense shale beds deep underground. 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 in the Netherlands because of the risk of pollution.


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