Germany agrees on a fracking ban but environmentalists still not happy

Fracking sign
Source: DollarPhotoClub

Germany took another step towards joining France in banning hydraulic fracturing. The country is the largest energy consumer in Europe and holds between 0.32 trillion and 2.03 trillion cubic metres of recoverable shale gas, according to a recent estimate by geologists at the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) but a strong green lobby in Germany’s parliament prevents the resources to be explored.

Last week Germany’s coalition government agreed to ban fracking but allowed test drilling to take place, subject to a permission from the respective state government. The ban will also be revisited in five years time, when a reassesment of whether the decision is still valid will take place.

Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) criticised the proposal and said that by setting a date for a fresh look, the coalition had essentially agreed to allow fracking in five years.

“The coalition’s agreement on a fracking permission law is hair-raising. The law must be stopped and replaced with a true fracking ban,” said Hubert Weiger, who heads the environmental group.

German industry is keen for the country to explore its unconventional resources, arguing that this would lower its energy costs. Germany is currently purchasing most of its gas from Russia.

A recent study carried out by the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) argued that it is possible to tap Germany’s unconventional reserves without damaging drinking water reservoirs.

“We found that the injected fluids did not move upwards into layers carrying drinking-water,” said Stefan Ladage, lead author of the BGR study, in January.

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