German government agrees fracking ban as environmental groups vow to fight on

As part of the compromise agreement, the ban will be revisited by parliament in 2021

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel have agreed on a fracking compromise after years of talks
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel have agreed on a fracking compromise after years of talks

Germany's coalition government has agreed to ban fracking for shale gas after years of fractious talks over the issue ‒ but environmental groups claim the ban does not go far enough and have vowed to fight the deal.

Test drilling will still be allowed but only with the permission of the respective state government, officials said.

German industry is keen to keep the door open to fracking ‒ which involves blasting chemicals and water into rocks to release trapped gas ‒ arguing that it could help lower energy costs, but opposition is strong in the country, where a powerful green lobby has warned about possible risks to drinking water.

If the law is approved by parliament, Germany will follow France, which has banned fracking, whereas Britain allows it subject to strict environmental and safety guidelines.

Germany was on the verge of a parliamentary vote on similar legislation to ban fracking a year ago, but the effort stalled amid disagreements between Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) and the left-wing Social Democrats (SPD).

The two parties agreed on Tuesday to an indefinite ban, but the compromise legislation calls for the German parliament to reassess whether the decision is still valid in 2021, said Thomas Oppermann, who heads the SPD's parliamentary group.

CDU officials confirmed that a compromise had been reached.

Friends of the Earth Germany criticised the proposal and said that by setting a date for a fresh look, the coalition had essentially agreed to allow fracking in five years.

“The coalition’s agreement on a fracking permission law is hair-raising. The law must be stopped and replaced with a true fracking ban,” Hubert Weiger, who heads the environmental group, said in a statement.

How Fracking works

Both parties were due to debate the legislative proposal in caucus meetings on Tuesday.

Further details of the compromise legislation were not immediately available.

Current German law permits unconventional fracking, but virtually no drilling permits have been approved.

Reuters

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in