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A German lass downs a hefty stein of the nation's famous beer.  (Source: Getty Images)
Over half of brewers have wells outside of protected region, fear contamination

Much like in America, Germany's "big oil" interests are clashing with other groups over controversial plans to "frack" the countryside -- injecting a slush of water and or chemicals at extreme pressures and temperatures into underground oil deposits to extract "black gold".  In Germany, much of the backlash against the process is coming from the nation's venerable beer industry, which is the largest in the European Union.

Germany is home to 1,300 breweries producing over 5,000 varieties of the beloved potable.  Renowned worldwide, Germany's beer is held to high standards, thanks to the nation's "purity" laws ("Reinheitsgebot"), which mandate only malt, hops, yeast and water be used in the brewing process.

The German government -- led by Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition of the right and moderate factions -- is under pressure to embrace fracking and open up some of the nation's bountiful oil shale deposits for extraction.  In response, her coalition is looking to put forth a law in Germany's Parliament which would allow fracking in some parts of Germany while prohibiting in regions where it could create the worst seismological or contamination concerns.

But the Brauer-Bund beer association -- the organization that represents the nation's brewers -- is pushing back, complaining that half of brewers use ground-water wells in regions unprotected by the legislation.  They argue evidence shows these wells could be contaminated, fouling the beer and marring an industry worth billions to the German economy.

German brewers fear fracking could foul ground water, damaging the beer industry.
[Image Source: Al Greenberg]

A spokesperson for the organizations tells the UK's Telegraph, "The water has to be pure and more than half Germany's brewers have their own wells which are situated outside areas that could be protected under the government's current planned legislation on fracking.  You cannot be sure that the water won't be polluted by chemicals so we have urged the government to carry out more research before it goes ahead with a fracking law."

The brewers may catch a break.  The minority opposition -- led by Chancellor Merkel's critics on the left -- is moving to block the bill, effectively stalling the attempt to open the shales to fracking.  Whether or not the issue reemerges thus largely boils down to who emerges victorious in September's elections -- but Germany's brewers want their letter to make clear why they're concerned.

The brewers hope that when Oktoberfest -- the world's largest beer festival, attended by 7 million visitors -- is held in Munich this fall, people will be worry about taste, not contamination.

Source: Telegraph

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By Jimbo on 5/27/2013 7:17:27 PM , Rating: 2
They fail to mention that "fracking" occurs several thousand feet below the water table.
If you do not like 'fracking' then say so, but using fallacious arguments to oppose it by whipping up hysteria is irresponsible simply because it's not true.

RE: Untrue
By ct760ster on 5/27/2013 8:42:53 PM , Rating: 2
And you Sir Jimbo, tell me how do you drill pass the water table without touching and altering it in any way that contaminate it. It's simple logic, unless you plan to frack the underneath substrate drilling from the opposite, the other side of the World perhaps ;)

RE: Untrue
By TheEinstein on 5/27/13, Rating: -1
RE: Untrue
By Samus on 5/28/2013 3:05:44 AM , Rating: 1
A) Chemicals used in fracking have been traced in surface water hundreds of miles away from the nearest fracking sites in the United States.

B) Well established evidence (thousands of recorded instances) of "flammable water" in the United States has been found near fracking sites.

Who do you trust: environmentalists, home owners, and statistics...or the natural gas industry, lobbyists, and politicians?

RE: Untrue
By StevoLincolnite on 5/28/2013 3:39:58 AM , Rating: 2
Heck, it's not like the "Gas Industry" has not had a track record of massive environmental damages that may or may not be associated with drilling but all stages of oil production and transportation anyway. - And just like ethanol, keep it away from our food! And most importantly a mans beer!

On a serious note though, mining and drilling can have massive consequences if left unchecked.
Farmers just up north of me here in Australia used to have clean fresh water for grazing Animals, then the coal mines opened... And the acid and mercury that's contaminated the water supplies has meant they had to close up shop, it's actually a fairly common occurrence in this country it seems.

Up in Queensland where there was massive flooding, it actually flooded out the mines, then the flood water became contaminated and spread over a vast distance polluting allot of drinking and farming water.

RE: Untrue
By Kiffberet on 5/28/2013 10:36:03 AM , Rating: 2
Coal mining is different to fracking for shale gas ...

RE: Untrue
By StevoLincolnite on 5/28/2013 8:00:26 PM , Rating: 2
That's incredibly obvious.
But you're missing the point completely.

RE: Untrue
By Solandri on 5/28/2013 6:13:05 AM , Rating: 5
A) Chemicals used in fracking have been traced in surface water hundreds of miles away from the nearest fracking sites in the United States.

That's pretty good evidence that the chemicals weren't from the fracking site then. Water in underground aquifers generally travels about an inch to a yard a day. The fastest flowrates (nearby rivers) are about a dozen yards a day. At these speeds it would take about 30 years best case for chemicals to leech 100 miles. On average it would take 500 to 20,000 years.

In all likelihood, the chemicals came from somewhere else, not the fracking.

B) Well established evidence (thousands of recorded instances) of "flammable water" in the United States has been found near fracking sites.

Ah yes, the infamous video from the movie. What they didn't tell you is that lots of wells have flammable water even without any fracking going on. In areas with large petroleum deposits underground, it's not unusual for well water to have a significant amount of dissolved methane (natural gas). When you pump the well water up, the pressure drop causes the methane to effervesce out, just like carbon dioxide bubbles out of soda and champagne when you open it. And as a result you can light it on fire.

I mean think about it. Where does natural sparkling water come from? In an underground aquifer, the water is under high pressure. A major component of volcanic gases is CO2. That CO2 encounters the water under pressure and dissolves in it. When the water is pumped up, the pressure drops and the CO2 effervesces out, and we call it sparkling water.

Well, another major component of volcanic gases is methane, and the exact same thing can happen. So why do you assume sparkling water is natural, while flammable water must be due to fracking? This is one of those cases where the correlation between A (fracking) and B (flammable water) isn't because A causes B or B causes A. Both A and B are caused by a third factor C (large amounts of petroleum and natural gas in the ground).

RE: Untrue
By Gondor on 5/28/13, Rating: 0
RE: Untrue
By Gondor on 5/29/2013 7:01:02 AM , Rating: 1
I see you created some alter accounts to pump your e-peen and rate me down after I exposed your preposterously stupid claims. Why not argue with facts instead phucktard ?

RE: Untrue
By Kiffberet on 5/28/13, Rating: 0
RE: Untrue
By omgwtf8888 on 5/29/2013 2:05:20 PM , Rating: 2
What ever the natural rate of underground water flow is, does not apply in the world of fracking. Once you inject pressurized water/chems into the area all flows are going to be accellerated.

RE: Untrue
By BRB29 on 5/28/2013 8:41:44 AM , Rating: 2
FY14 will be a heavy year for research on fracking at the USGS(water research)

Small traces of chemicals from fracking was found on surface water nearby.

Scientists found high correlation between fracking and earthquakes with statistics(the only way to determine cause as we still have no technology to directly prove what caused earthquakes)

Note: none of these are official results as the study is not complete. Late next year, there will be articles about fracking. If it is biased then I will post the real research.

RE: Untrue
By superflex on 5/28/2013 11:13:22 AM , Rating: 1
It's called an outer well casing, Copernicus.
Steel pipe that extends from the surface to below the water table. Cemented in place and sealed with bentonite clay between the annulus and the main casing.
Drilling 101 but I guess this simple fact is beyond your level of comprehension.

RE: Untrue
By slunkius on 5/29/2013 9:28:21 AM , Rating: 2
if thats is so simple and reliable, wonder how all that hoopla with BP oil spill happened? Difference with fracking is that chemicals will not wash away somewhere, but will stay in water basin, and you will have to get drinking water from someplace else

RE: Untrue
By superflex on 5/29/2013 11:36:41 AM , Rating: 2
and your degree in Geology is from where?

RE: Untrue
By BRB29 on 5/29/2013 12:07:47 PM , Rating: 2
So you can spill information like you're an expert but when others do it, they need to have a phD?

RE: Untrue
By Amiga500 on 5/28/2013 3:39:58 AM , Rating: 4
Read what they are saying:

"The water has to be pure and more than half Germany's brewers have their own wells which are situated outside areas that could be protected under the government's current planned legislation on fracking. You cannot be sure that the water won't be polluted by chemicals so we have urged the government to carry out more research before it goes ahead with a fracking law. "

With their billion dollar industry possibly being severely and detrimentally affected, it is a prudent course of action.

RE: Untrue
By cyberguyz on 5/28/13, Rating: 0
RE: Untrue
By DerMack on 5/28/2013 9:38:00 AM , Rating: 2
I didn't knew they brewed heineken in germany, heineken being dutch and all...

anyways purified water isnt as good as naturally pure ground water which probably has some minerals in it..

RE: Untrue
By BRB29 on 5/28/2013 9:41:45 AM , Rating: 2
Purified water is not good for you in general unless your only other choice is non potable water. Unpolluted ground water is the best water you can use. It actually taste good too.

RE: Untrue
By Donkey2008 on 5/28/2013 3:15:32 PM , Rating: 2
"Purified water is not good for you in general"

THAT is the biggest load of crap ever.

RE: Untrue
By BRB29 on 5/28/2013 3:23:00 PM , Rating: 2
You are the biggest load of uneducated crap ever

RE: Untrue
By Donkey2008 on 5/28/2013 4:32:51 PM , Rating: 2
I think your statement on purified water tells me all I need to know about your education level. Yet another clueless wonder spreading BS across the internet.

RE: Untrue
By BRB29 on 5/29/2013 7:45:24 AM , Rating: 1
Besides being clean, please tell me one good thing about purified water as opposed to natural unpolluted water with minerals your body needs.

Visit your doctor and ask them if you should drink purified water every day as opposed to good natural water. Boiled tap water is tons better than purified water. Please go back to school or visit a doctor to confirm this. You are probably too dumb and butt hurt even if doctor walks up to you to tell you otherwise.

RE: Untrue
By Paj on 5/29/2013 8:15:44 AM , Rating: 2
Natural ground/spring water contains essential minerals that the body needs.

Next time you get a bottle of spring water, you can see the mineral composition on the side. All of these minerals are important for normal body processes.

Purified water is simply H20, without any of these naturally occurring minerals. Hence, it is not as 'good' for you.

RE: Untrue
By Solandri on 5/28/2013 6:05:53 PM , Rating: 2
"Purified water is not good for you in general"

THAT is the biggest load of crap ever.

Actually he's partly correct. There are some trace minerals your body needs which are normally found in groundwater. Extremely purified water like distilled or reverse osmosis filtered removes these minerals. If you've ever seen the multiple filter packs on a home RO system, only one of those packs is the RO filter. The others are there to add minerals back into the water.

For commercial RO filters (used on many islands to generate fresh water) the main reason is actually to protect plumbing. RO filtered water is so pure, it has a high affinity to dissolve materials and will leech metals right out of the pipes. Adding minerals back in acts sort of like a water softener, and reduces the water's penchant to dissolve plumbing.

Unfortunately, some people have taken that to mean drinking RO/distilled water will leech minerals out of your bones. Of course it won't - by the time the water reaches your bones it's been mixed with all sorts of other bodily fluids which reduces its affinity for minerals. But it is true that groundwater carries some minerals your body needs. That's why distilled water tastes a little funny, while certain spring waters taste really good. (I like VOSS and Fiji myself, Poland Springs is really good too. Though I really wish they'd analyze this stuff to figure out exactly what mineral composition makes them taste so good, instead of shipping the stuff halfway around the world.) The extra filter packs in your kitchen RO filter add minerals in to improve the taste.

RE: Untrue
By BRB29 on 5/29/2013 8:35:08 AM , Rating: 2
Don't forget that pure water may cause damage to your cells.

The best and cheapest water you can get is boiled tap water. Depending on where you live, tap water can taste much better than anything you can buy. Some counties put fluoride in it to help your teeth also.

RE: Untrue
By DerMack on 5/28/2013 9:45:10 AM , Rating: 2
had to check, and at least according to wiki heineken doesnt have breweries in germany, they do have breweries all over europe but not in germany. Could it be because of that purity law...

RE: Untrue
By Motoman on 5/28/2013 10:29:56 AM , Rating: 2
I'm guessing it has to do with the fact that Heineken has always been a Dutch company, never a German company.

RE: Untrue
By Iaiken on 5/28/2013 3:28:28 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't knew they brewed Heineken in Germany, Heineken being dutch and all...

Well then I bet you didn't know that the following are brewed under contract in Canada by either Molson or Labatt before being "imported" to the US market:


RE: Untrue
By mars2k on 5/28/2013 10:26:46 PM , Rating: 2
All oil or gas drilling perforates across thousands of feet of strata. This perforation is difficult to seal and leakage occurs. Contaminates leak into the water table no matter how far apart they are from the hydrocarbon deposit.
This perforation is permanent. Long after the oil or gas is depleted, the drillers have made their profit and disappeared the hole will still be there and need to be maintained. Who will do that exactly?
In Texas there are thousands of drill holes with rotting casing. Salt water from the oil formation leaks into the water table. Lots of places no longer have clean ground water as a result.
Oil can be replaced with something else water cannot. Doesn’t anybody think about the true cost of this sort of extraction? The only people touting this are the ones that make the money and run while the rest of us are left holding the ecological bag.

knee jerk reaction to a knee jerk reactioin
By Bubbacub on 5/28/2013 9:57:32 AM , Rating: 2
I don't get these Germans.

A tsunami hits an antiquated unsafe Japanese nuclear reactor so they immediately shutdown all of their much safer nuckeasr reactors in a country that has no earthquakes or tsunamis!

They then kinda realise that they are up a certain creek with no paddle with no long term way of powering their massive industrial capacity and start fracking but now they don't want to do that either.

I seriously think the greens would only be happy with the extermination of mankind to allow the earth to revert to some pseudo idyllic man free paradise.


RE: knee jerk reaction to a knee jerk reactioin
By Motoman on 5/28/2013 10:31:53 AM , Rating: 4
The ignorant kneejerk decision worldwide to back away from nuclear power is just retarded. There's no real, viable alternative for the amount of power that modern society needs.

Fukushima wasn't a warning sign that nuclear power is unsafe. It was a warning sign that you need to do it safely.

RE: knee jerk reaction to a knee jerk reactioin
By Kiffberet on 5/28/2013 10:57:45 AM , Rating: 2
Viable alternatives don't just appear out of no where, someone has to invent the technology first.

An inventions don't happen without an incentive. So Germany used the Fukushima disaster to ban nuclear and encourage renewables.
These ignorant retards will be inventing the next technologies, while everyone else carries on with burning gas...until it all runs out.

And nuclear power is a lot more expensive than people realise. In the UK, power companies are dropping out one by one from building new nuclear plants because the risks and costs are so high that they demand fixed tariffs at premium rates for 20 years or they won't touch it.

By siconik on 5/28/2013 11:26:48 AM , Rating: 2
And nuclear power is a lot more expensive than people realise. In the UK, power companies are dropping out one by one from building new nuclear plants because the risks and costs are so high that they demand fixed tariffs at premium rates for 20 years or they won't touch it.

Nuclear power is expensive because the groups hell-bent on opposing it strive to make it so (quite openly, in many cases), only to turn around and say its too expensive.

If I set your car on fire every night and by day riled against the impractically expensive automotive transportation (due to having to purchase a new vehicle daily), you would not be amused.

RE: knee jerk reaction to a knee jerk reactioin
By BRB29 on 5/28/2013 11:27:21 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know where you are getting your numbers from. Nuclear energy is the cleanest, safest and cheapest throughout the world besides China. But then again, China is known to cut so many corners that squares will look like circles.

You're posting pure crap without anything to back it up besides your rant.

RE: knee jerk reaction to a knee jerk reactioin
By Paj on 5/29/2013 8:18:19 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe think of a less biased source next time eh?

By BRB29 on 5/29/2013 9:02:07 AM , Rating: 2
You call that a biased article?
Every article is biased but that is one of the least biased articles. They actually put up real numbers and didn't care much to say BS like "21 out of 35 scientists...."
Everything they're saying goes in line with what NRC and NEI are saying.

RE: knee jerk reaction to a knee jerk reactioin
By Kiffberet on 5/28/2013 10:48:57 AM , Rating: 3
The Germans curently produce 25% of the energy needs from renewables.

While the rest of the world uses nuclear and carbon based energy, the Germans are quietly developing cheaper and cheaper renewal technologies.

Shale gas won't power the world forever, and nor will nuclear, but when its all run out, the Germans will be there selling the tech and saving mankind.

RE: knee jerk reaction to a knee jerk reactioin
By Bubbacub on 5/28/2013 11:21:44 AM , Rating: 2
We've got enough thorium to last thousands of years - IMO nuclear is far and away the most environmentally sound power generation technology - you have to consider the ecological footprint of building offshore wind farms when assessing nuclear vs 'green' technologies.

What is really going to happen is that there will be a shortfall in German energy supplies which will be propped up with Russian gas whilst the polkitcians continue making no decision

By Belard on 5/29/2013 5:09:36 PM , Rating: 2
nuclear is environmentally sound? Wow, did you see this little even a few years ago:

They had 3 reactors have a complete MELT DOWN.

With solar and wind-energy, there is ZERO costs to transport and store spent fuel rods because there are none required.

RE: knee jerk reaction to a knee jerk reactioin
By TSS on 5/28/2013 11:33:40 PM , Rating: 2
It's also the germans who pushed through tariffs on cheap chinese solar panels to protect said industry, causing worries all over the continent the bottom is going to fall out of the solar industry since it depends on those cheap panels for consumer demand.

It's silly too because the parts the german make aren't the actual cells just the stuff around them. High quality stuff too that the chinese simply cannot copy because they don't have the technical knowhow.

It's also the german policy by the way that's causing most of the financial problems in the south of europe. Just so the the euro's cheap and their exports rise. Nobody here thinks it's kinda fishy their economy is the only one who hasn't been affected by the crisis and has actually improved in recent years?

The germans are excellent with technology. But if there's anybody who won't save the world, it'll be them. If there's anybody who will take over the world at some point, now there they are a contender.

By torpor on 5/30/2013 12:51:18 AM , Rating: 2
German policy forcing the PIIGS to have economic trouble? Wow you're ignorant.

The German Bundesbank is notorious around the world for holding the line on keeping the Euro strong. Just like they did with the DM.

The essential problem - and I'm simplifying to suit your post - is that the easily observable economic policy in regards to currency strength was led by the Bundesbank and was very conservative. You'll notice that, before the international currency crisis, the Euro was strong against any currency you chose: US Dollar, Yen, Wannabe Dollar (Canada, Australia, etc), Yuan... even looked good against the Pound Sterling.

However, under the surface, the national governments of the PIIGS kept really loose reserve ratios for banking, thus diluting the currency under the covers. It kept local country debt more manageable, but it drove risk and the potential of inflation.

You do manage to be correct when you say that Germany benefitted from this in terms of foreign trade. But considering the entire history of German central banking, the influence of the Bundesbank on the ECB (controlling), and the new, strong push for European banking unity, the truth should be obvious. The PIIGS did it to themselves, despite the Germans not because of them.

By torpor on 5/30/2013 12:59:33 AM , Rating: 2
And the Germans are doing well because of Agenda 2010 - their own austerity program which was put into place way back in 2003.

So tell me again how austerity doesn't work...

RE: knee jerk reaction to a knee jerk reactioin
By kattanna on 5/28/13, Rating: 0
By Paj on 5/29/2013 8:19:42 AM , Rating: 2
Really - who might those people be?

Hi. I need room service
By BRB29 on 5/28/2013 8:44:34 AM , Rating: 2
Please tell that woman to bring me 2 pitchers of beer to my room.

RE: Hi. I need room service
By ClownPuncher on 5/28/2013 4:12:01 PM , Rating: 2
That's no pitcher, you girlie man!

A cutie throwing back a stein
By amanojaku on 5/27/2013 5:46:04 PM , Rating: 3

I have found my political cause. Protect the wells!

Why WE need renewable Energy
By Belard on 5/29/2013 4:59:25 PM , Rating: 1
When Oil companies and conservative talk about the need to drill MORE oil (Oil production is an all time high), what is happening is PROOF of an oil problem.

Oil reserves (world wide) are dwindling. This has been known for decades that OIL is NOT UNLIMITED. In another decade or so, oil output will start going down no matter where we drill or how much. Price per barrel will skyrocket.

Hints that OIL drilling is in trouble:
1 - Fracking (costs more than normal drilling)
2 - Off-shore drilling (Costs about 5x more than on land. Why the hell would someone bother... oh yeah, land oil reserves are shrinking)
3 - Saudi Arabia is building a super solar-farm to see power to Europe as well as power their own country.

Some people are saying "renewable energy is expensive" - well, its getting cheaper. Its still NEW tech. But coal mining and oil drilling isn't cheap (but its a very profitable business - look up top 10 companies in the world).

Coal has to be mined, loaded into trains, transported to the coal burning power planet, which in turns poisons our AIR.

When an oil pipeline bursts (they do all over the USA, every year there are about 350 such failures. Since 1986, pipeline accidents have killed more than 500 people, injured over 4,000, and cost nearly seven billion dollars in property damages. Pollution, fires, explosions... all that is NOT cheap or free. There are dozens of rail accidents involving oil tankers every year as well.

And when there is a deep-water or any off-shore oil well failure, people tend to die and millions of gallons of oil is leaked into the water and wasted. Also, not free... and not cheap to fix.

And last, one of the most EXPENSIVE cost of oil to every single American is our military. We stick our noses in the middle east, doing business with countries that "hate us" because of OIL. That has costs us trillions of dollars and thousands of lives.

Wind and solar power is actually LIMITLESS... until the our sun destroys us billions of years from now.

Windmills transmit power directly to the grid. No burning, no transport. When a windmill fails, it stops moving. A crew of 2~3 guys will come out and fix it. If at worse, a windmill falls over... no explosions, no pollution.

SolarPower is getting better and cheaper by the year. Even on this site, it used to be in the news. An excellent one is Solar Windows to be used on buildings.

Oil and coal is limited. Someday we will be able to capture much more solar energy. The entire human race currently uses about 400 quads of energy (in all forms) per year. Put another way, the solar energy hitting the earth exceeds the total energy consumed by humanity by a factor of over 20,000 times.

In 10 years, there should be no reason for ANY NEW car to use fossil fuels. They are working on solar powered aircraft. If everyone's home can have their power solar power source... then it means we are free from the electric companies too... our home recharges our cars.

Oil *WILL* run out. I would buy stock in oil companies and clean-energy companies today.

"Death Is Very Likely The Single Best Invention Of Life" -- Steve Jobs

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