Economic affairs minister Henk Kamp does not have to cut gas production in Groningen still further, the highest Dutch administrative court ruled on Thursday.
A group of Groningen residents, mainly farmers, had gone to court in an effort to force Kamp to slash production from the current 24 billion cubic metres a year. They claimed the safety of locals is more important than providing income for the treasury and wanted the court to make an emergency ruling.
Hundreds of homes in the province have been damaged by earthquakes caused by the land settling following gas extraction.
However, the Council of State ruled on Thursday there is no reason why gas production should be cut back again at the present time. Later this year, the court will rule on the legitimacy of the request to have gas production reduced.
The eight protestors who had called for an emergency decision now plan to sue NAM, the Shell ExxonMobil joint venture responsible for extracting the gas, for €6.5m in damages, the NRC said.
They are also claiming that the decision to allow gas extraction from under the province breaks European human rights rules.
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