Drilling for gas can start off Schiermonnikoog, court rules

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Gas company One-Dyas may continue its preparations to drill for gas of the coast of Wadden island Schiermonnikoog, pending a final ruling on objections by a number of environmental organisations.

The Council of State, the highest Dutch administrative court, cleared way for drilling to continue on Friday, saying work could continue until the other legal case has been completed. The green groups called on the Council of State to stop the work until the other case had been ruled on.

The permit to build a gas drilling platform was earlier torn up by judges in The Hague who said it is not clear what the impact of nitrogen compound emissions associated with the rig and gas extraction will mean and that some of the claims were not properly supported.

But the permit was then been amended after One-Dyas supplied additional information about its plans and, says the economic affairs ministry, there are no further questions about the environmental protection measures. Green groups are now fighting that ruling.

The Dutch government first gave the green light to the project in June 2022, despite plans to phase out the use of natural gas because of its impact on the environment.

The case against the project was brought by several environmental organisations from the Netherlands and Germany. They say the drilling may cause irreversible damage to the Borkumse Stenen, an underwater habitat that has been left largely untouched by fishing.

Locals on the island, which has a population of under 1,000 are also opposed to the plan. The development site is some 20 kilometres offshore.

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