Fracked Over: German Brewers Fear Oil Shale Extraction Could Ruin Their Beer
May 27, 2013 5:31 PM
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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
, "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.
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Why WE need renewable Energy
5/29/2013 4:59:25 PM
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.
"My sex life is pretty good" -- Steve Jobs' random musings during the 2010 D8 conference
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