Shale gas safe, says government report; cabinet to discuss Friday
Dutch ministers will on Friday discuss a still-confidential report which states fracking - the process of extracting gas from shale rock deep under the ground - is safe, according to RTL news.
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.
The protests led economic affairs minister Henk Kamp to commission a report into the pros and cons of fracking in the Netherlands.
RTL has a secret copy of the document which states shale gas can be extracted cleanly and safely. Three trial locations - Boxtel, Haaren and the Noordoost polder - have already been earmarked and ministers are now poised to give the go ahead to test drilling, sources have told the broadcaster.
Environmental group Milieudefensie said voting in favour of fracking would be reckless. The report is a 'sloppy, rushed job', has been pieced together from existing publications and is not geared to the Dutch situation, the organsation said.
In Britain, plans to extract shale gas in parts of rural England have led to major protests and arrests.