Deutsche Umwelthilfe (Environmental Action Germany), Bürgerinitiative Saubere Luft Ostfriesland (Citizen initiative Clean Air Ostfriesland), Island Borkum and the Dutch organization Mobilisation for the Environment win their court case to uphold construction freeze:
– In an eight-hour hearing on September 28 2023, the Dutch Court in The Hague clarified that no drilling platform may be built off Borkum.
– Marine protection, climate protection and the threatened destruction of reefs were also discussed in detail.
– Further hearing is announced for January 2024, until then new gas drilling is ruled out
The oil and gas company One-Dyas wants to drill for natural gas only 500 m from the UNESCO World Heritage Site off Borkum, in the German North See, near the Dutch border. Half of the gas field is located under the Dutch and half under the German North Sea. The planned production volume would massively fuel climate change with about 65 million tons of CO2 released and, on top of that, endanger the fragile ecosystem of the Wadden Sea.
Already in April 2023, the alliance was able to prevail with an emergency application before the court and achieve a ban on the construction of a drilling platform. The background for the September 2023 decision to uphold the construction ban is the lack of official permits for nitrogen emissions from the project on the Dutch side. However, negotiations were also held on climate protection, the encroachment of protected areas and the threatened destruction of reefs at the planned construction site. Another hearing has been announced by the court for the beginning of January 2024. Until then, gas drilling is excluded.
The decision clearly shows that the time for new fossil fuel projects in the North Sea, which threaten reefs and protected areas, is definitely over. We simply can no longer afford to tap new sources of CO2. Instead, we need a radical rethink that gives more protection to the already polluted seas. In January 2024, the court case is to continue – and the organizations on both sides of the German – Dutch border will do everything they can to finally prevent this fossil drilling project directly in front of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Wadden Sea.
Sources: Environmental Action Germany’s press release and Dutch Grandparents for Climate. See also: https://www.duh.de/projekte/gasbohrungen-vor-borkum/ and https://grootoudersvoorhetklimaat.nl/actie-bij-het-paleis-van-justitie-in-den-haag/