Guidelines for decision-making based on the Dutch experience.
This paper focuses on the debate on shale gas in the Netherlands. In the political decision-making process relating to shale gas, the national government has highlighted the importance of clarifying the opportunities and risks related to shale gas extraction, and the question of whether this is properly regulated. This has given rise to a study commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs aimed at investigating whether shale gas can be safely extracted in the Netherlands. (In the remainder of this paper this study will be referred to as the so-called ‘risk and safety’ study).
The Rathenau Instituut found that the focus of the ‘risk and safety’ study was out of sync with the political and public debate about shale gas extraction in the Netherlands. For example, a media analysis showed that, besides safety risks and environmental risks, the debate also focused on how the role of shale gas extraction worldwide affects the Netherlands, as well as on local support (Waes, 2013). Also various members of parliament stressed the need for a broader debate, including the national usefulness and necessity of shale gas extraction, and the location-specific aspects relating to this issue.
van Waes A., A. de Vries, R. van Est & F. Brom, Broadening the debate on shale gas - Guidelines for decision-making based on the Dutch experience. The Hague, Rathenau Instituut 2014