Dutch come up with new scheme for quake damage compensation

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Dutch come up with new scheme for quake damage compensation
A crack in the wall of a farm in Hunzinge, northern Netherlands, Friday, Jan. 19, 2018. More than 3,000 homes in Groningen province are facing reinforcement or even in some cases demolition because of a series of small tremors caused by decades of gas extraction and the Dutch government is being forced to confront the possibility of a future without locally produced gas years earlier than expected. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Dutch authorities have brokered a new agreement about how to compensate damages suffered by homeowners in the northeastern Netherlands due to earthquakes caused by gas extraction.

In a concession to thousands of residents whose homes have been shaken by hundreds of small quakes in recent years, Economic Affairs and Climate Minister Eric Wiebes said Wednesday that the company responsible for gas extraction, known by its Dutch acronym NAM, would no longer have a say in the compensation process.

The government said the new independent compensation system means that “individual claimants will no longer have to do business with the NAM.” They will be compensated by the Dutch government, which in turn will claim the money back from NAM, a joint venture between Shell and ExxonMobil.