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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: 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: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fukushima_Daiichi_nuc...

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.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agenda_2010

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


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