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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.

Fracking
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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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
quote:
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.

quote:
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.


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