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article imageGerman brewers warn Merkel against gas ventures/fracking

By Anne Sewell     May 24, 2013 in Environment
German industry is being pressured to explore the possibility of extracting the country's natural gas reserves. Beer makers have warned Chancellor Angela Merkel that this could damage Germany's legendary beer industry by polluting the water.
"Don't frack with our beer" is the cry from the German beer makers, as the Brauer-Bund association worries that "fracking" for natural gas could pollute the ground water used in brewing beer. They say this would break a 500-year-old industry rule on water purity.
However, Merkel’s government is working on a law to set out conditions for exploration for natural gas. Resistance from opposition parties could block this law in parliament, meaning that it is unlikely that a fracking law can be passed before the September elections.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking as it is more commonly known, involves pumping water and chemicals at high pressure into the ground in order to extract the natural gas. However, in the United States where the practice is common, it has been linked to the pollution of ground water and various health problems.
A Brauer-Bund spokesman said to the 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.”
Under the German purity law, known as the “Reinheitsgebot”, brewers can only produce beer using malt, hops, yeast and water, and this water must be completely pure.
Germany is famous for its beer and has more than 300 breweries, producing some 5,000 different beers. Each year the Munich "Oktoberfest" beer festival attracts around 7 million visitors.
More about German, Germany, Brewers, Beer, Fracking
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