If the Social Democrats have their way, fracking will have no future in Germany.
Handelsblatt has learned that Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks, both members of the center-left Social Democrats, are planning to submit draft legislation this month that would effectively ban hydraulic fracturing to extract shale gas, otherwise known as fracking. The Social Democrats, or SPD, are in coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right Christian Democrats.
Maria Krautzberger, president of the Federal Environmental Agency and also a member of the SPD, confidently concluded: “I don’t see any prospects for shale gas in the foreseeable future in Germany.”
This political blockade of fracking is triggering growing resentment and open protest among German industry leaders. They accuse politicians of adhering to old prejudices, despite new information about the risks of fracking, thereby obstructing efforts to try out a promising technology.
For instance, U.S.-based ExxonMobil is now capable of forcing oil and gas out of underground rock with a fluid that only contains two harmless chemicals, Gernot Kalkoffen, head of the company’s German operations, told Handelsblatt.
“Politicians have consistently demanded that we remove toxic materials from fracking fluids,” he said. “We’ve achieved that in the laboratory, and now we want to test these fluids in pilot projects.”