Netherlands Nitrogen Minister Christianne van der Wal (Photo by BART MAAT/ANP/AFP via Getty Images)
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The Dutch government announced plans to buy and close up to 3,000 farms near areas deemed environmentally sensitive to comply with EU climate rules, the Telegraph reported.
The Netherlands stated that it would first offer one-time voluntary deals to large nitrogen-emitting farms in hopes of reducing pollution. However, if not enough farmers accept that initial offer, the Dutch government announced that it would move forward with "compulsory purchases."
According to the government plan, which hopes to target 2,000 to 3,000 farms, landowners will first be offered a deal "well over" the property's value.
Nitrogen Minister Christianne van der Wal told members of parliament on Friday, "There is no better offer coming." She added that if enough farmers do not take the "voluntary" offers, then with "pain in the heart," the government will move forward with compulsory purchases.
The Netherlands, the second-largest food exporter in the world, is aggressively pushing forward with the plan to comply with the EU's conservation rules. The agriculture industry is reportedly responsible for nearly half the nitrogen emitted in the country.
Dutch farmers have continued to stand their ground and protest over the extreme restrictions, fearing for their livelihoods and standing staunchly against the compulsory buyouts. Many farmers feel that the agricultural sector is unjustly targeted while other industries, such as aviation, are not.
LTO Nederland, the largest farmers' lobby organization, accused the government of enforcing "restrictions without perspective." The group noted that trust in the Dutch government "has been very low for a long time."
LTO chairman Sjaak van der Tak stated, "Of course it is positive that a good voluntary stop scheme is being promised. But the stayers who are central to us will have many additional restrictions imposed."
Another farmers' group, Agractie, stated that voluntary buyouts are welcomed by farmers but cannot be offered with the threat of compulsory purchases to follow.
According to a ruling by the Dutch Council of State in 2019, every new activity that emits nitrogen requires a permit, including farming. In the future, the government is considering taxing nitrogen emissions to encourage sustainability, the Dutch News reported.
Will Hild, the executive director of Consumers' Research, told the Daily Caller News Foundation, "The Netherland's war on farmers to pursue their ESG agenda serves as a stark warning. Americans should be vigilant against efforts by both governments and big Wall Street firms like BlackRock pushing these same dangerous 'net zero' carbon emissions targets here in the U.S. It is difficult to overstate the recklessness of undermining farmers during the greatest global food crisis in decades. This will likely exacerbate the food price inflation we are already experiencing."
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Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.