Germany’s coalition government has agreed to outlaw hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” for shale gas in the country after years of debate over the issue, but environmental groups said the ban does not go far enough and vowed to fight it.
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What’s the Problem?
June 27, 2016 – Under the new agreement, test drilling will be allowed but only with the permission of the respective state government, according to Reuters. A segment of the German coalition government wants to keep a door open to the fracking industry, arguing it could lower energy costs, but opposition is strong in the country, where an influential green lobby has warned about potential drinking water contamination and other environmental risks.
If the measure is passed, Germany will follow France, which has already outlawed fracking, whereas Britain allows it per strict environmental and safety restrictions.
Germany was close to a vote that would ban fracking a year ago, but negotiations stalled amid disagreements between the country’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) and left Social Democrats (SPD).
The 2 parties agreed last week to an indefinite ban on the hydraulic fracturing industry, but the legislation requires that parliament reassess whether the decision is still valid in 2021, according to Thomas Oppermann, head of SPD’s parliamentary group.
Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) criticized the measure, saying that by setting a date for reassessment, parliament had basically agreed to allow fracking in 5 years.
“The coalition’s agreement on a fracking permission law is hair-raising,” said Hubert Weiger, head of BUND. “The law must be stopped and replaced with a true fracking ban.”
Additional details of the legislation have not been made available. Current German law permits unconventional fracking, but virtually no drilling permits have been approved to date.
Do I Need a Fracking Lawyer?
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Free Confidential Case Evaluation: Again, if you or a loved one has been the victim of water or air contamination caused by fracking, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit and we can help.