Congratulations, Germany! Not only is the country celebrating after its victorious World Cup win, Germany is also celebrating the announced proposal to ban most hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” drafted by German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks, together with Sigmar Gabriel, Vice Chancellor and Minister for Economic Affairs. Because protecting the drinking water and health of its residents is of highest value to Germany.
Fracking is nowhere to be seen in Germany's near future. The Parliament could adopt the ban as soon as next year banning shale gas extraction at depths less than 3,000 meters, or 1.9 miles. The proposed set of rules also ends the use of fracking for economic purposes.
A process to extract natural gas from the ground by "drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks," fracking runs many risks. The fluid contains up to 600 toxic chemicals including carcinogens. And during the process, these chemicals leak and contaminate nearby groundwater.
Fracking is overwhelmingly unpopular in Germany and environmental campaigners have been front and center in the fight to protect the health of Germans and prevent the contamination of their drinking water.
“The risk of our groundwater and drinking water supplies being severely and permanently impaired by use of fracking technology does not justify the short-term promotion of relatively small amounts of gas,” Julia Verlinden, energy spokeswoman for the German Green Party, said in an interview with the website, McCatchyDC.
The recent decision to stop fracking within German borders is a "triumph for conservation and water safety activists," according to an article in Audubon Magazine. These committed environmental activists and the German government are setting the way for Europe: Learn from experience in the U.S. and just say no to fracking.