Tight restrictions on hydraulic fracturing required
New report: No drilling for natural gas in designated areas tapped for drinking water
Hydraulic fracturing technology, used to extract natural gas from unconventional deposits, can lead to groundwater contamination. There is particular concern and uncertainty regarding the use of chemicals and the disposal of flowback, the wastewater produced by the process. This is the conclusion of a new report for the Federal Environment Ministry and the Federal Environment Agency presented in Berlin today by Federal Environment Minister Peter Altmaier and President of the Federal Environment Agency Jochen Flasbarth. While it does not call for a complete ban on hydraulic fracturing, the report recommends tight restrictions on the use of the technology and a step-by-step approach, citing current gaps in knowledge and environmental risks. Among the moves the authors advocate is a ban on hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas in designated areas tapped for drinking water and in spa regions. Federal Environment Minister Peter Altmaier welcomed the report: "The findings and recommendations of the report significantly advance our discussion about hydraulic fracturing. The risks to groundwater are clearly identified. All concerns must be addressed before hydraulic fracturing is deployed". Jochen Flasbarth, President of the Federal Environment Agency: "I believe the proposed introduction of a mandatory environmental impact assessment is particularly important. We cannot afford to jeopardise our drinking water supply". Both men are calling for a full public consultation.