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Purity Concerns: German Beer Brewers Foaming Over Fracking

World  (tags: fracking, Germany, beer, purity law, contamination, water )

- 2056 days ago -
The fight over fracking in Germany has taken an unexpected turn: German breweries are now warning that the controversial method of extracting natural gas from rock layers deep in the earth would affect their ability to brew the best beer.


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Angelika R (143)
Wednesday May 29, 2013, 6:12 pm
Forget environmental concerns: When it comes to fracking, Germans are worried about how it might affect beer quality. In a letter to several ministries in Berlin, brewers expressed concern that the exploitation of shale gas could contaminate water supplies and thus violate the beer purity law of 1516.

hus violate the beer purity law of 1516.

The fight over fracking in Germany has taken an unexpected turn: German breweries are now warning that the controversial method of extracting natural gas from rock layers deep in the earth would affect their ability to brew the best beer.

The process threatens to contaminate drinking water, according to a letter written by the German Brewers Federation to the federal government, and quoted by the mass daily tabloid Bild.

Regulations controlling the brewing of beer in Germany date back to the beer purity law, or Reinheitsgebot, of 1516 -- the world's first food purity law. According to the Brewers Federation, German beer still may only be made from malt, hops, yeast and water.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's governing coalition has drafted regulations for fracking, but the brewers say their proposed laws don't go far enough.

Dependence on Clean Water

In the letter, which was sent to six federal ministers, the brewers said: "The legal changes planned by the federal government to date are not sufficient to guarantee the security of drinking water supplies and to take into account the requirements of the Reinheitsgebot." A spokesperson for the federation confirmed the contents of the letter to SPIEGEL ONLINE.

The letter goes on to argue that the brewing industry is dependent on high-quality drinking water, and that fracking could reduce or even completely eliminate the security of the water supply. The federation calls on the government to continue debate on the issue before reaching a final decision.

Attempts at introducing legislation on fracking in Berlin have been postponed several times. In mid-May, Merkel's cabinet agreed on a proposal to ban fracking in catchment areas for lakes, such as Lake Constance in southern Germany, that are drinking water sources. But several areas would be exempt from the ban.

Berlin wants to develop a law that would define the conditions under which the technology could be used in Germany. The fracking procedure is used to release shale gas from stone deposits deep in the earth. The process is controversial because, among other reasons, it involves the use of chemicals that could contaminate the water supply.

Meanwhile, at a summit in Brussels on Wednesday, European leaders discussed the future of shale gas and fracking on the continent. British Prime Minister David Cameron told reporters that Europe "mustn't be left behind in the global race. Europe has 75 percent of the United States' shale resources, but America is drilling 100 times faster than Europe."

So far, there has been no agreement in the EU on how shale gas should be exploited. European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said Europe should pursue all energy resources, but it is up to the individual countries how to do this.

"Yes, this includes shale gas, which could become part of the energy mix for some member states, perhaps less for others," he said.

JL A (281)
Wednesday May 29, 2013, 10:20 pm
Hopefully the new corporate voice will be heard at least as loud as the old corporate voice instead of being drowned out by oil

Angelika R (143)
Thursday May 30, 2013, 6:22 am
I certainly hope so,too! I'm rather confident as the beerbrewers do have a strong voice, support and power!
But should fracking permit get passed in our legislative it will likely be in some states only, no way the conservatives in the south where the brewers are traditionally located would EVER allow it. Ironically, those conservatives in the south are also the frack supporters and so is the EU commissioner, a former PM in one of those rich southern German states(strongly promoting nuke AND fracking)

Kit B (276)
Thursday May 30, 2013, 11:28 am

If the beer makers have the voice that will make a difference then let them lead the way. Too bad we haven't heard the same outrage from American brewers. We don't have the "purity law of 1516" obviously but we do have brewers, some of them owned by German companies.

Laurie H (818)
Thursday May 30, 2013, 8:04 pm
The more negative responses coming out against Fracking the better!!! Keep it coming!!!!!!!!~ Thanks Angelika so much!!~

Lynn D (0)
Thursday May 30, 2013, 11:16 pm
Yeah! thanks!

Abdessalam Diab (145)
Friday May 31, 2013, 4:32 am
Noted.Thanks Angie .

Angelika R (143)
Friday May 31, 2013, 7:58 am
Yes indeed Laurie. and actually there was another negative just today, an expert analysis report suggesting extreme caution to the govt. as to a possible permit! We WILL have more extensive research about consequences for health, water etc and experts also found ZERO advantages of this technique to our energy needs. So glad our Green party is so strong here and categorically opposed fracking from start.
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