Fracking watch: Germany figures out what CA hasn’t

April 27, 2013

By Chris Reed

On Monday, AB 1301, which would halt hydraulic fracturing — fracking — in California, is expected to be voted on in the Assembly Natural Resources Committee. Fracking has been scrutinized by the Obama administration, which concluded it was just another heavy industry. Groundwater contamination claims are goofy, given that fracking occurs thousands of feet under the water table. But it’s all green groups have to slow down the brown energy revolution.

Starting today, I will blog each day about a nation that sees how fracking is revolutionary and threatens to give the U.S. a huge economic advantage — cheaper energy — and either wants a piece of the action or is reconsidering its previous opposition to fracking. What is my point? That sane people making reasoned long-term decisions embrace fracking, whatever California’s Legislature does.

Flag_of_Germany.svgFracking sanity chapter No. 1: Germany

This is from the April 24 Washington Post.

“WAGENFELD, Germany — Germany has one of the most robust green movements in the world, but economic pressures are tempting it to try something that critics say would harm the Earth: shale gas drilling.

“Motivated by a rapid-fire increase in natural gas production in the United States, business leaders and some politicians in Germany say they need to act quickly to prevent the country’s industrial core from departing for places where energy costs just a fraction of the price. They worry that the country’s ambitious environmental goals are far less meaningful if the economy withers in achieving them.

“Legislation under discussion would for the first time formalize permits for shale gas production in Germany, which is estimated to have enough reserves to feed natural gas demand for 20 years. But the plans have set off a backlash from many citizens, who are far more concerned than most Americans about the technique called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. And in a country that wants to generate 80 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2050, some say pouring investment into fossil fuels makes little sense. …

“The push to tap Germany’s shale gas despite the country’s green goals is yet another unpredictable consequence of the rapid increase in the United States’ natural gas production, made possible through innovations in fracking, a method that forces a slurry of chemicals, sand and water at high pressure down a well to fracture shale and unlock the gas within. The U.S. price for natural gas in 2012 was just a quarter that of Europe’s, a gap that has opened in just a few years.”

Check back every day for an update on another country that has figured out cheap energy is good, and that the groundwater contamination warnings are desperate fictions from a green movement that has lost all the momentum it had a few years ago and is now being overwhelmed by the brown energy revolution.

I suspect I’ll be at this at least three weeks. Common sense is not unusual around the world, unlike in Sacramento.

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