German brewers force fracking limits18th June, 2014 by Richard Ross
Following strong lobbying from Germany’s brewers’ association, the government is to tighten laws on fracking to protect water sources for beer production.
Lobbying of Germany’s environment minister Barbara Hendricks by the influential brewers’ association over the past year appears to have borne fruit. The association has been calling for the government to strengthen legal protection on water sources to cover private brewers’ wells and mineral springs.
A spokesman for the environment ministry, speaking to The Guardian, says it now intends to “considerably tighten” legislation around fracking. However, Germany’s previous government was unable to pass similar legislation last year, failing to gain approval in the upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat. However, regional governments also have powers to block fracking.
Brewers in the German town of Lünne in Lower Saxony have joined calls to block fracking in their region, believing that their town may become the first location in Germany where the controversial procedure may be allowed. Lower Saxony contains the majority of the country’s shale resources and already has a large amount of natural gas production. Energy company ExxonMobil also carried out a test drill close to the town in 2011.
Friederike Borchert, whose family brewery in Lünne produces some 800,000 litres of beer per year, told The Guardian: “Germany is a beer nation: if their beer has no flavour, people will mount the barricades”
She added: “For brewers, fracking could spell the end of our existence”, explaining that water used for brewing has to be “even cleaner than drinking water”.