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German Brewers Warn Fracking Could Hurt Beer

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the does-this-taste-funny-to-you? dept.

Beer 325

Taco Cowboy writes "Those of you who like free beer, watch out! The practice of fracking for shale gas may ruin the beer you drink. Under the 'Reinheitsgebot,' or German purity law, brewers have to produce beer using only malt, hops, yeast and water. 'The water has to be pure and more than half [of] 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,' said a Brauer-Bund spokesman. The Brauer-Bund beer association is worried that fracking for shale gas, which involves pumping water and chemicals at high pressure into the ground, could pollute water used for brewing and break a 500-year-old industry rule on water purity."

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325 comments

Energy a bit more important than Beer (-1, Flamebait)

prasadsurve (665770) | about a year ago | (#43832071)

Cheaper Energy would give a boost to German industry which is especially needed at a time when Europe is middle of a recession just like it has given a boost to the US industry.

Re:Energy a bit more important than Beer (4, Insightful)

Reliable Windmill (2932227) | about a year ago | (#43832083)

And what about the ground water? Obviously, beer is not the main concern of the issues with fracking.

Re:Energy a bit more important than Beer (1, Troll)

jacekm (895699) | about a year ago | (#43832129)

Water can be treated. It is all about the cost. If water treatment cost less than the energy obtained it is still a good thing for society.

Re:Energy a bit more important than Beer (5, Insightful)

evenmoreconfused (451154) | about a year ago | (#43832191)

That's like saying that it's okay to pollute the atmosphere with some poisonous gas (say, for example, chlorine gas) because we can always use technology to re-purify it.

Re:Energy a bit more important than Beer (4, Informative)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | about a year ago | (#43832227)

Haven't you ever seen The Lorax or Space Balls?

The obvious solution will be to bottled and sell fresh air and water and let those that can't afford it die. Who cares what happens to plant and wild life that can't buy bottled products when we could be creating a whole new industry for some big corporation to make huge profits off something required to sustain life. /end sarcasm.

Re:Energy a bit more important than Beer (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832253)

Perhaps you would be happier if humans went back to living in caves? Nearly all industry causes some type of waste. There are ways to deal with it responsibly.

Re:Energy a bit more important than Beer (4, Insightful)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about a year ago | (#43832307)

Perhaps you would be happier if humans went back to living in caves? Nearly all industry causes some type of waste. There are ways to deal with it responsibly.

The problem isn't that it can't be dealt with responsibly. The problem is we fear -- the past being our guide -- that it won't, at least not until it's already caused us problems.

Re:Energy a bit more important than Beer (1, Interesting)

Teun (17872) | about a year ago | (#43832263)

That's the utter Bull irresponsible and cheap oil companies come up with, there is no need to pollute the groundwater during a frack, it's as simple as that.

But working safely is in the short run obviously not the cheapest method.

Re:Energy a bit more important than Beer (5, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#43832429)

Except that the cost is probably a large multiple of the win you can get from fracking. So why would this be considered an acceptable solution?

Oh, right, because those who get the profits are not the same as those who have to pay the cost.

Re:Energy a bit more important than Beer (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about a year ago | (#43832453)

Lots of people are worried about that, too.

They should have made it to the headlines, too. And that is what actually worries me.

Re:Energy a bit more important than Beer (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832459)

Ground water contamination is a possibility and we need to remain vigilant in monitoring and controls to make sure that it doesn't happen. Industry obviously needs oversight. However, when done correctly, fracking is done well below the ground water level and will have a layer of "impermeable" (yes, for thousands of years at least) clay, etc. in between the fracking and the groundwater. Contamination today usually happens (infrequently) when the surface installations leak or are improperly sealed. This does happen and we need to work to prevent it with safety controls and monitoring. However, done right, fracking poses less risk to ground water than many other technologies already in use.

Re:Energy a bit more important than Beer (-1, Flamebait)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about a year ago | (#43832095)

If only there were some. . .other. . .source of water for the brewers than their existing wells.
Or if only there was a way to filter the water (they don't already filter it?).
Or if only you could take hydrogen and oxygen gasses and do anything useful with them.
But I guess this wouldn't be much of a story, then, would it?

Re:Energy a bit more important than Beer (4, Interesting)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43832145)

Or if only there was a way to filter the water (they don't already filter it?).

Filtering works great for sand, grit, etc. but is not so easy w/ various mixed in chemicals.

Or if only you could take hydrogen and oxygen gasses and do anything useful with them.

You mean the hydrogen that you get from the electrolysis of water, and the oxygen you get either from that or liquefying air? That'll solve your energy problem.

Re:Energy a bit more important than Beer (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832193)

If only there were some. . .other. . .source of water for the brewers than their existing wells.

Existing wells which the companies have no doubt spent a lot of time and money developing to make sure they can provide an adequate supply. Do you really expect them to have to dump all of that and start buying it in from a profit-seeking provider just because somebody else has started to contaminate the groundwater?

Or if only there was a way to filter the water (they don't already filter it?).

Any why should they have to pay to clean up somebody elses pollution? Any filtration they have is probably geared for contaminants currently found in the ground, not fracking-byproducts.

Or if only you could take hydrogen and oxygen gasses and do anything useful with them.

Again, this is pollution caused by somebody else which then moves with the groundwater into their wells. Why should it be their obligation to change their practices?

But I guess this wouldn't be much of a story, then, would it?

"Fracking company takes steps to ensure their activities don't pollute groundwater" wouldn't be a story, except in the PR sense. "Established beer company has to dump water well facility for alternative sources because their neighbours are leeching crap into the groundwater" most certainly would be a story.

Re:Energy a bit more important than Beer (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#43832215)

We shouldn't defend anybody polluting private water wells - that's an affront to property rights - but it's also silly to think that any of those wells contain 'pure water'. Every ground well has some minerals in it, and it's often those 'impurities' that give the local food products their unique character.

We also shouldn't be paying attention to any 500-year-old rules that have something to say about chemistry...

Re: Energy a bit more important than Beer (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832103)

You obviously know nothing about Germany's economy. In a country where the average beer consumption is over a liter per person, ruining the beer would also ruin the economy.

Re:Energy a bit more important than Beer (5, Insightful)

cbope (130292) | about a year ago | (#43832123)

Yes! Let's destroy our clean drinking water in the name of boosting the fossil fuel industry! What a great fucking idea!

Re:Energy a bit more important than Beer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832187)

Reminds of this one [imdb.com].

Re:Energy a bit more important than Beer (2, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | about a year ago | (#43832309)

Do you drive a car, use or own anything made of plastic, ever fly anywhere, take a bus?

Popular Science did a report on fracking. Sits that have been contaminated so far? 1 and that was an unusual site where the gas was near the water table.
Usually the gas layer is several thousands feet below the water table. fracking fluid is heavy and flows down so contamination should be next to impossible.
Mindless fear and opposition is frankly destructive and will just increase the use of coal and imported oil and gas.
Thinking people should look at the science and work towards good regulation and not a simple chicken little style ban.
 

Re:Energy a bit more important than Beer (4, Funny)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about a year ago | (#43832385)

I get my science from Matt Damon [wikipedia.org]

Are you saying he's another Hollywood tree-hugger distorting facts in order to sell movie tickets?

Re:Energy a bit more important than Beer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832417)

Do you drive a car, use or own anything made of plastic, ever fly anywhere, take a bus?

Do you drink clean water?

Re:Energy a bit more important than Beer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832495)

Do you drive a car, use or own anything made of plastic, ever fly anywhere, take a bus?

None of this requires fracking.

Re:Energy a bit more important than Beer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832449)

Yes! Let's destroy our clean drinking water in the name of boosting the fossil fuel industry! What a great fucking idea!

Congratulations captain obvious. You have managed to repeat the same thing 93 other commenters managed to say!

Re:Energy a bit more important than Beer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832137)

Germany is one of the greenest countries on the planet, this oil and gas fixation is down to Americans and their inability to build remotely efficient houses and vehicles.

Re:Energy a bit more important than Beer (1)

N3TW4LK3R (841526) | about a year ago | (#43832203)

Germany? Green? You may want to read up on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lignite [wikipedia.org]

Re:Energy a bit more important than Beer (1)

Teun (17872) | about a year ago | (#43832283)

Which is more than offset by their very significant wind and solar farms.

Re:Energy a bit more important than Beer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832303)

You did notice the downward trend for Germany. And the upward one for the US. Right?

Re:Energy a bit more important than Beer (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832195)

There is NOTHING more important than beer...

Re:Energy a bit more important than Beer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832219)

The water supply is a bit more important than cheap gas, specially in a far smaller and densely populated country.

Re: Energy a bit more important than Beer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832235)

That's a great reason to to contaminate the groundwater for generations. Water is the most essential input needed to sustain human life. There is only 2.5% of the world's water that is freshwater. Why would you trade temporary economic gain for the permanent loss of freshwater. This doesn't even include the carcinogenic air pollution contaminates of fracking.

Re:Energy a bit more important than Beer (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about a year ago | (#43832257)

water purity (a long term issue) is a lot more important than the excuse of "energy" (immediate profits).

Re:Energy a bit more important than Beer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832317)

Except from what I've heard, the Germans are faring better than most of Europe. I don't think they'll look the other way out of desperation, especially if beer is in danger.

Re:Energy a bit more important than Beer (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about a year ago | (#43832441)

For about 10 or twelfe years. (which is IIRC the estimated volume of oil/gas that could be produced my fracking).

And then a country WITHOUT energy, clean water and beer is definitly NOT what we need.

Re:Energy a bit more important than Beer (1, Insightful)

mellon (7048) | about a year ago | (#43832535)

German industry doesn't need a supply-side boost: it needs a demand-side boost. Fracking is a supply-side boost. Fracking will not help German industry.

Uebersetzungsfehler? (4, Informative)

sqrt(2) (786011) | about a year ago | (#43832073)

The Reinheitsgebot stipulates beer have only THREE ingredients: water, barley and hops. The purity law dates to 1516. Yeast wouldn't be discovered until 1680 and even then wasn't recognized as a living organism.

Re:Uebersetzungsfehler? (4, Informative)

slackware 3.6 (2524328) | about a year ago | (#43832141)

They ammended the Reinheitsgebot to allow the use of cultured yeast.

Re:Uebersetzungsfehler? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832225)

Problem solved then! They can simply amend it again to include the cocktail of chemicals from the fracking.

Re:Uebersetzungsfehler? (4, Funny)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43832375)

Problem solved then! They can simply amend it again to include the cocktail of chemicals from the fracking.

Benzene adds a delightful "bite" to an otherwise dull lager.

Re:Uebersetzungsfehler? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about a year ago | (#43832323)

if that is the law then all beer is in violation. Unless the water is 100% pure, which is not what you will get from any well on the planet it is violation. The law is actually impossible to meet because one speck of dust means the beer is illegal.
 

Re:Uebersetzungsfehler? (4, Interesting)

rioki (1328185) | about a year ago | (#43832461)

Actually it is not a "law" as such. There is not law book that contains this law. It used to be a law in some places and guilds in the middle ages. But currently it is a well observed as a principle. The idea is to use the cleanest water possible. What is bad about trying to put the best ingredients into your product.

Re:Uebersetzungsfehler? (0)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#43832365)

It's been amended much more than that, to allow many other ingredients in addition to yeast. For example, the use of wheat malt in beer was banned under the Reinheitsgebot, but Germany is now famous for its hefeweizen.

Re:Uebersetzungsfehler? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832525)

You are mixing up a few things. The Reinheitsgebot (law = gesetz, gebot =policy) is still the same. There is beer following the Reinheitsgebot (which is printed on the bottle), and beer which is not. They co-exist.

Beer saved the World! (4, Interesting)

EzInKy (115248) | about a year ago | (#43832087)

Re:Beer saved the World! (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43832181)

Don't get too excited. It was mostly what the British called "short beer". It was pretty watery and had just enough alcohol to kill much of the bacteria. Otherwise people couldn't have afforded it, and would have been too drunk all the time to brew any more. You probably wouldn't touch the stuff.

Re:Beer saved the World! (1)

EzInKy (115248) | about a year ago | (#43832247)

Was the British beer better than the Egyptian beer than preceded by a few millinea? In both cases the goal was to produce a product that didn't kill consumers. Those who were to drunk to brew and too poor to buy would logically have been bred out of the gene pool.

Re:Beer saved the World! (4, Funny)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#43832269)

It was pretty watery and had just enough alcohol to kill much of the bacteria. ... You probably wouldn't touch the stuff.

I still can't believe Budweiser as that old.

Re:Beer saved the World! (3, Informative)

hcpxvi (773888) | about a year ago | (#43832359)

It was mostly what the British called "short beer". It was pretty watery and had just enough alcohol to kill much of the bacteria.
Nearly. ISTR it was called "small beer" not "short beer". Even modern beer doesn't contain enough alcohol to kill bacteria; the important thing is that to make beer you had to boil it, which kills off any waterborne bacteria that were in your water supply. So up until the advent of treated water supplies you might well get cholera or dysentry from your water supply, but not from your beer.

Re:Beer saved the World! (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43832511)

it was called "small beer" not "short beer"

Small, short, I just speak American.

Even modern beer doesn't contain enough alcohol to kill bacteria; the important thing is that to make beer you had to boil it

Interesting. I wondered why the small alcohol content worked (maybe it helped a little?). I also wondered why they didn't just boil water, whether it was ignorance or just a preference for beer instead of water (actually I still don't know). I'm also obviously no brewer, as I didn't know you had to boil water to make beer.

Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832091)

German beer is boring anyways. Get rid of the purity laws and maybe they would catch up to the US and Belgium.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832117)

silly americans think their beer is good...

Re: Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832255)

Silly Europeans don't think American beer is good.

Re: Who cares? (1)

EzInKy (115248) | about a year ago | (#43832295)

You can blame Budweiser for that. Some of our microbrewries produce excellent beers. Anheiser/Bush just wants everyone to drink "Bud".

Re: Who cares? (1, Flamebait)

rioki (1328185) | about a year ago | (#43832513)

Except that 80% of German beer that is drunk it good or better beer and 80% of american beer that is drunk is mediocre or worse. You can find very bad beer in Germany and great beer in the US. The big difference in Germany is that most beer that is sold in bars is from the one of the local breweries, which on average is 3 per town (from 1000 pop.). In many cases you have larger beer houses that brew and sell their own beer. On average you get better beer in Germany than the US.

- from a USA/German national

Re: Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832499)

Can't really blame them, we don't export much of the good stuff.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832291)

The big brewers don't make good product, but the craft brewer make some kick-ass stuff.

Re:Who cares? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832383)

silly americans think their beer is beer...

FTFY

Re:Who cares? (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43832479)

silly americans think their beer is beer...

FTFY

Good thing you said that about Americans, who are quite forgiving about such "jokes". If you'd said that about Canadians, you could be in real trouble [youtube.com]

Re:Who cares? (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about a year ago | (#43832533)

I'm German and a beer fan. And I never stop beeing amazed about the variety of beer you actually can produce within the limits of the purity law. On the other hand, I became a fan of Ameriucan craft beer, too.

Belgium? Ummm thanks, but no thanks....

The real pollution problem with fracking (4, Interesting)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43832109)

The real pollution problem with fracking for gas isn't the fact that it's fracking as opposed to more traditional extraction techniques, but that the drilling sites are not well monitored and even existing regulations are not well enforced. In other words, the same crap can happen with conventional drilling. It's also ridiculous that thanks to Dick Cheney, companies don't have to tell the EPA or state environmental departments what the ingredients of their fracking fluids are. At least that's the situation here in the US - as an American I can't speak to the German situation so well. Hopefully they handle it better.

I'm afraid that this is yet another industry that'll screw itself through short term greed, just as lax safety at nuke plants has trashed that industry.

Profit (1)

EzInKy (115248) | about a year ago | (#43832189)

All a business is concerned about is profit, and rightly so! If a company doesn't have more money today than it yesterday it can't spend more money today than it did yesterday. Further, if it has less today than it did yesterday it can't spend any without causing risk to those who depend on it making more. Other than investing money only in and accepting the risk for doing so I don't know what else to suggest.

Re:Profit (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43832431)

All a business is concerned about is profit, and rightly so!

Gewinn über alles? (anyone who actually speaks German feel free to correct).

Yes, profit is what I expect for-profit business to be mainly concerned with (hence the term "for-profit"). It makes a great economic tool, but we also introduce something called "regulation" to deal with externalities like pollution. In some cases intelligently run businesses even support that regulation because they realize that otherwise there may be a public backlash that will destroy their business.

Re:The real pollution problem with fracking (1)

Teun (17872) | about a year ago | (#43832321)

Indeed, the Cheney laws are totally unthinkable in Germany or any other N/W European country.

The drilling and production of oil and gas is tightly regulated and monitored.

Re:The real pollution problem with fracking (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43832443)

the Cheney laws are totally unthinkable in Germany or any other N/W European country

Hopefully you're right. Not so long ago they were unthinkable in the US.

So distill the water... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832161)

So distill the water if you need it "pure". I doubt the water coming out of the ground is as "pure" as distilled water.

Re:So distill the water... (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43832199)

So distill the water if you need it "pure". I doubt the water coming out of the ground is as "pure" as distilled water.

Forget beer - do you know how much potable water the average person uses in a day? Distillation is very energy intensive, otherwise it would be used all over to get fresh water from salt water. Distilled water also tastes like crap. Even soft water has enough mineral content to change the flavor, and I suspect that's part of the beer flavor. Brewer's tend to be very particular about their exact water source, which wouldn't be an issue if distilled water worked well.

Re:So distill the water... (0)

stoploss (2842505) | about a year ago | (#43832369)

Distilled water also tastes like crap.

I beg to differ, but this is a tangent anyway.

Even soft water has enough mineral content to change the flavor, and I suspect that's part of the beer flavor. Brewer's tend to be very particular about their exact water source, which wouldn't be an issue if distilled water worked well.

...which goes back to the fundamental flaw in the brewers' argument. Either they are currently using distilled water (ie. "minerals dissolved in water" isn't a whitelisted ingredient according to the purity law so they have been using distilled water since the 16th century [haha, sure]), or they are using water that has additional dissolved molecules that "don't count" for the purposes of adhering to the law for whatever reason. If one set of dissolved molecules is allowed an implicit exception to the law, then why not another set?

My guess is that they aren't using distilled water, and therefore their entire line of argument is nullified. That's not to say I am in favor of added fracking byproducts in beer—merely that they need to find another rationale for opposing it than the beer purity law.

Then again, they probably realize this and are just attempting a publicity stunt.

Re:So distill the water... (4, Insightful)

Teun (17872) | about a year ago | (#43832357)

Why purify the water when it's in natural shape pure enough?

Just make sure it stays pure and don't allow US-style rape of resources.
Under present EU and German legislation modern oilfield technology is quite well capable of extracting shale gas in a clean and responsible way without the American effects on the environment and population.

German purity law? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832179)

I watch way too many WWII documentaries.

RO Water (1, Interesting)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about a year ago | (#43832183)

We have reverse-osmosis filtering system on the water source for the humidifiers for the environmental chambers in the test lab at work. It's not unknown technology. The old-fashioned alternative is a still.

Are these breweries currently using unfiltered, unpurified water?

Re:RO Water (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43832245)

We have reverse-osmosis filtering system on the water source for the humidifiers for the environmental chambers in the test lab at work. It's not unknown technology. The old-fashioned alternative is a still.

You think that's a solution? What about the rest of the potable water supply and the cost and energy use of what you suggest.

Are these breweries currently using unfiltered, unpurified water?

Quite possibly. There are places where untouched ground water is quite safe to drink (let alone what the alcohol in beer does to further sterilize it). There are plenty of people in less densely populated areas that get their water from a backyard well.

And What of the Natural Salts and Minerals? (2)

eldavojohn (898314) | about a year ago | (#43832351)

We have reverse-osmosis filtering system on the water source for the humidifiers for the environmental chambers in the test lab at work. It's not unknown technology. The old-fashioned alternative is a still.

Are these breweries currently using unfiltered, unpurified water?

As someone who consumes large amounts of beer, there are salts and minerals that exist in the water that come from certain aquifers that are actually desired to be in place for the beer and can have a negative or positive effect on the yeast. An adequate amount of calcium, magnesium, and zinc is necessary for some of the yeast’s metabolic paths. I believe most brewers add in these things to aid the yeast as much or as little as they want but I am almost certain that RO would completely remove any of this out of the water along with anything bad.

This becomes especially apparent when a very large brewery like Anheuser-Busch or SABMiller buys out a smaller brewery like Leinenkugel's and moves production from Wisconsin to Missouri or where ever it is most convenient for their supply lines. Often they keep the same formula, make little adjustments to it and rely on brand loyalty. And as someone who has consumed vast amounts of Leinies in Chippewa Falls, WI and also on the east coast, I can tell you right now that Leinies out here tastes like shit and I'd much prefer Yuengling, Troegs or any of the more local breweries.

And my suspicions are that they take shit water, put it through RO and don't or can't make proper adjustments to add sconnie minerals resulting in an inferior product. Don't get me wrong, I love RO water. I worked at restaurant that only served triple reverse osmosis water and then added some salts and minerals post process and holy hell that was the most refreshing thing I've ever drank. But these breweries are operating on top of hundreds of years of adjustments to their local aquifers and just asking them to insert RO water into their process is probably harder said than done.

Re:RO Water (2)

Teun (17872) | about a year ago | (#43832371)

Except for a simple solids filter it's pretty much used the way it gets out of the ground, yes that's how these natural water supplies are, clean and ready for consumption.

Nuclear vs fracking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832201)

Germans are banning nuclear energy and starting fracking?!
Why risk the water supply in such a small and densely populated country?

What's German for bullshit? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832205)

Oh great, German anti-science deniers spreading scare stories about fracking. It could pollute our beer! Oh noes! No cheap fuel for us! Keep us poor and stupid for our own good!

And slashdot sucks it up.

Re:What's German for bullshit? (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43832217)

Oh great, German anti-science deniers spreading scare stories about fracking.

Is it your scientific contention that fracking can't pollute water supplies?

Re:What's German for bullshit? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832267)

Obviously it can't! After all, fracking takes place far below where the wells get their water, and with our latest technology, we have Scotty here to teleport the chemicals down and the gas up without having to drill through the water table!

Re:What's German for bullshit? (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43832355)

Obviously it can't! After all, fracking takes place far below where the wells get their water, and with our latest technology, we have Scotty here to teleport the chemicals down and the gas up without having to drill through the water table!

Scotty ain't so sharp. He can't even tell the difference between a computer mouse and a microphone.

Greenie nuts (0)

DarkOx (621550) | about a year ago | (#43832211)

Well water is anything but pure. In the best case its loader with dissolved minerals and full of microbes. Now admittedly they might be good tasting minerals and microbes, that actually help rather than hinder larger organisms like us that drink but to say its pure is crazy talk.

If the rule is that water has to be pure than they need to be use water that has been made darn near pure via distillation or made by oxidizing hydrogen gas; not pretending well water is pure.

Re:Greenie nuts (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43832271)

Well water is anything but pure. In the best case its loader with dissolved minerals and full of microbes. ... say its pure is crazy talk.

You're quibbling over the definition of "pure". At least you could find out what the German word is and quibble over that definition. Personally I'd rather have the minerals dissolved in most decent ground water than, say benzene.

So... (0)

prisoner-of-enigma (535770) | about a year ago | (#43832239)

So, let me get this straight: nothing is happening to the beer source water now, and it may well be that nothing will happen to it in the future. And if anything does happen, the magnitude of it could be so small as to be unnoticeable. The only point of the article is somebody's trying to pass or extend the reach of an anti-fracking law/regulation.

This is without a doubt one of the most content-free and pointless articles I've come across on /. in a while...and that's saying something.

Re:So... (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43832343)

nothing is happening to the beer source water now

If for no other reason than that they aren't fracking yet. This is about a proposed law permitting it.

and it may well be that nothing will happen to it in the future. And if anything does happen, the magnitude of it could be so small as to be unnoticeable

That's two "maybe's", and the other side of that is two "maybe not's". Wouldn't it be nice to get some assurances before proceeding w/ something that can seriously contaminate the water supply, as has happened at fracking sites in the US.

All because of the bad example in the US (2, Interesting)

Teun (17872) | about a year ago | (#43832243)

Here in Europe a whole industry seems to have sprung up of clueless "experts" showing local populations the well known scare-video's from YouTube about the terrible things that happen when you frack.

I've myself gone to such meetings and it's quite astonishing the kind of utter rubbish that's being peddled as 'fact'.
When I get up and ask questions the organisers get nervous and the press interested :)
But these agitators seem to get away with it, at least for now.

As an example in my town they showed this slide [blogspot.com] that 'proves' how water is affected.
The scale is so ridiculous I can't imagine why we haven't produced this shallow gas a century ago.

Fact is the shale in my region sits below 3500 m (~10,000ft.)
Above it are huge salt layers that cap the Slochteren formation, the largest but 3/4 depleted on-shore gas field in Europe.
Would there be any leaks from the frack they'd logically end up in this reservoir.

A lady from the public jumped up and cried "Where should we go once our water is polluted", the organisers agreed with her, this crime should be stopped!
In the mean time they 'forget' to mention polluted water is produced at every conventional oil- and gas field, something that in this part of Europe has never been an issue.
But with shale gas it should be?

Thanks Cheney/Bush for fucking up a good idea with irresponsible legislation.

Re:All because of the bad example in the US (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43832313)

Fact is the shale in my region sits below 3500 m (~10,000ft.) Above it are huge salt layers that cap the Slochteren formation, the largest but 3/4 depleted on-shore gas field in Europe. Would there be any leaks from the frack they'd logically end up in this reservoir.

You're assuming that the contamination comes from the actual fracking itself. It usually comes from things like improperly sealed bore holes. Is it your contention that fracking (or any natural gas drilling) can't contaminate water supplies? Do you think everyone in the US reporting it is under a delusion and that we should just trust the gas industry?

Re:All because of the bad example in the US (2)

Teun (17872) | about a year ago | (#43832425)

The problem in the US is a lack of regulation, Cheney took his chance and now the oil companies don't have to worry for legal shit due to stupid or irresponsible actions.

An irresponsible action can be over-fracking a small shale layer and thus damaging formations that should retain the gas but are now leaking and allowing the gas to migrate up.
Responsible action on behalf of regulator and oil company would exclude such very shallow shales from getting an exploration and production licence.

Re:All because of the bad example in the US (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year ago | (#43832481)

You shouldn't trust the gas industry. You need sound regulation and enforcement.

But the scare tactics and yes outright lies put forth by the opponents of fracking are just as bad.

The fact is that there are no confirmed reports of fracking contaminating drinking water.

The secondary operations associated with fracking have caused problems and there is a definite need to improve these operations.

Natural gas polluting my beer! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832277)

I'd rather they get all that natural gas out of there that is polluting our water and beer!

OMG! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832341)

Won't somebody think of the beer?! This must stop at once!

EU Environmental Regs Are a Mess (4, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year ago | (#43832363)

These are the same people who are now building new coal burning plants because they shut down their nuclear power industry. And the coal they are burning is low quality crap lignite. In some countries in Europe coal consumption is increasing 50% per year.

Some have called it a new golden age of coal in Europe:

http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21569039-europes-energy-policy-delivers-worst-all-possible-worlds-unwelcome-renaissance [economist.com]

Now of course they are going to turn their back on much cleaner natural gas because they are afraid that they can't write effective regs for shale gas production?

MOAR COAL!!!

Europe's environmental policy is flat out nuts.

Re:EU Environmental Regs Are a Mess (1)

Teun (17872) | about a year ago | (#43832463)

You are absolutely correct there's a renaissance of coal fired power plants.

The reason being US coal has due to the abundance of shale gas gotten so cheap it is now flooding the world market and Europe is part of it.
Now don't worry too much, it won't be long and a nice CO2 levy will be slapped on to these plants returning them to the inefficient dinosaurs they are.
Specifically Germany is very much on it's way to a renewable energy economy, another reason they might not be so terrible interested in shale gas.

Fracking=8,000 feet, water table=200 feet! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832445)

Before you beer drinking baboons go on and on about fracking contaminating drinking water, learn about the issues. Water is found at 200 to 600 feet below the surface. Fracking occurs 5,000 to 10,000 feet below the surface. And the pipes that traverse the water table are double/triple insulated and regulated by the environmental agencies.... No threat to your beer water... even your bong water is safe. Move along now... nothing to see.... And why is slashdot even concerned about these issues....sounds like it has been infiltrated by a bunch of hippie douche bags.

Idiots warn breathing might deplete atmosphere (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43832467)

Good day.

They're worried about the beer? (4, Funny)

johnny cashed (590023) | about a year ago | (#43832489)

What about the water? I know it is the national drink in Germany, but they do drink water too, correct?

Hydraulic fracturing science vs lawyers and fear (1)

approachingZero (1365381) | about a year ago | (#43832531)

A lot of money has been raised by the environmental fund raising industry, unfortunately the vogue have done a lot of information damage in doing so.

Democrats have actually politicized the issue to the point where the science is ignored and people are out with pitchforks and torches looking to kill a monster, and anyone who doesn't agree must be pro monster and must also be destroyed.

Are there any cases of water wells being contaminated? No. One well in Wyoming may have been contaminated though the water from that aquifer is extremely deep and nearly in the same zone as the producers in that area and the data-set is likely skewed to arrive at a politically hoped for conclusion the EPA is desperately hoping to construct.

Shallow water wells are notoriously infused with coal-bed methane, to this day I can't believe so many 'educated' people fell for the 'Gas Land' hoax.

People are scared, that is what the environmental money industry wanted and they are really good at it. There are people now who are so convinced 'fracking' is dangerous they are experiencing psychosomatic symptoms such as nose bleeds. And don't forget the lawyers, the lawyers see money and are looking for a big payout.

The beer is safe, what is in danger are the facts.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4RLzlcox5c [youtube.com]
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