Report: Germany to Allow Fracking in Limited Areas
Reports indicate that the German government will permit the use of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) to extract shale gas in areas where water resources could not be impacted.
Environment Minister Peter Altmaier and Economics Minister Philipp Rösler reached agreement on far-reaching regulations for the fracking industry and agreed to the measures that permit fracking in non-restricted areas. Proposed legislation would outlaw fracking in water protection areas and near drinking water aquifers. Strict environmental regulations, including mandatory impact studies, would be introduced.
Altmaier, of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union, and Rösler, head of pro-business, junior coalition partner the Free Democratic Party, said the measures provided “a unified legal situation,” to address envornmental concerns related to the extraction techniques. Tensions have existed between the two ministries, who have difference of opinions on energy issues ranging from the implementation of the energy transformation and Germany’s climate policy.
Fracking has been used on conventional gas reserves in Germany since the 1960s. Estimates of technically recoverable shale gas in Germany ranges 25-81 Tcf or 700-2268 billion (109) m3, primarily located located in the states of Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia and Saxony-Anhalt. This is about 2-7 times the German natural gas reserves from conventional reservoirs. With German gas consumption presently at 84.4 billion m³ annually, shale gas reserves would satisfy German demand for gas for at least twenty years.
In a statement, Roesler said that while fracking offers “significant opportunities, we must always keep in view possible effects on the environment.”
“This offers a good perspective for the future even if we should wait to see the actual progress”
Earlier Altmaier said he wants to see legislation in place prior to the federal election to be held on September 22nd.
"I'd like to see Germany have a law before the election and that we can hold this conversation in a calm and reasonable environment," Altmaier said. "Everyone has to know that nothing can be approved in Germany that's not justifiable."
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