Groningen farmers plan mass claim against NAM over quake damage

Hundreds of farmers in northern Groningen province met Monday night in Delfzijl to discuss a mass claim for earthquake damage against gas producer NAM, public broadcaster NOS reported on Tuesday.

More than 100,000 people in Groningen province have reported earthquake-related damage to their homes and the total repair bill so far has exceeded €1 billion.

But farmers claim their needs are being ignored and that they too are suffering from quake-related leaking fertiliser stores, subsidence and structural damage to their barns and farm houses.

‘The people of Groningen are proud. Normally we solve our problems within the family, but this is too much. Together, we are now strong,’ said farmer Ate Hylke Kuipers who organised the event.

But geologist Peter van der Gaag,  who is surveying the affected farms, said that not all damage could be blamed on NAM’s gas extraction. ‘The ground water level has been lowered as well.  Certainly far more water has been removed than gas and that has an effect as well,’ he said.

‘An earthquake causes damage, but so does a heavy autumn storm. I don’t understand why so little research has been done on this,’ he said.

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