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Anti-Fracking Hangover: Germany's fear of beer contamination coming to America?

Anti-Fracking Hangover: Germany's fear of beer contamination coming to America?

In 2011, the popular German modal Jordan Carver was asked what kind of beer would be served at a realistic Oktoberfest party. “If you want to be authentic,” she said “you need to know that the beer served during the Munich folk festival may only be served by the six Munich breweries: Augustiner, Hacker Pschorr, Hofbräu, Löwenbräu, Paulaner and Spaten. And the Oktoberfest beer is stronger than other beer.”

Love of quality beer is clearly alive and well in Germany. They take pride in it, as they should.  However, all is not well and good. The German Brewers Federation has been duped into believing that fracking–which has the potential of finally making Germany energy independent–would contaminate the water they use to make their beer.

Their concerns are baseless, of coarse.  Maybe some good Samaritan will be able to send them a copy ofFrackNation with German subtitles. But the madness is now coming to the United States, according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Meanwhile, a group of Colorado brewers has come out strongly against “fracking” in that state. That’s the method of extracting oil and natural gas from difficult terrain by using water, air, and chemicals to widen the gaps in rock layers to allow the gas escape into wells. It’s an old technique, but recent technological advances have caused a huge fracking boom in many states and revolutionized the U.S. oil and gas industry. The downside, at least according to critics, is that the process can do bad things, like destabilize fault lines and, yes, contaminate ground water. The industry has denied the problems, but the drum beat against fracking has remained strong; New York state banned the practice after a documentary movie, Gasland, chronicled contamination in neighboring Pennsylvania, which has been a major center of fracking. 

Now 26 Colorado breweries are starting a campaign to get Gov. John Hickenlooper, himself the founder of Wynkoop Brewing in Denver, to put limits on the lucrative drilling technique, citing concern about contamination. The campaign, starting with a public letter from the brewers, puts the brewer/governor in a tough spot since he has been an active proponent of fracking, citing its enormous economic potential for rural landowners.

Gasland, which was reportedly financed by the Petro-powered Marxist regime of Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela, is the film dissected in FrackNation. (Gasland‘s production assistant is an official in the Venezuelan government; in 2006, when he was still on the radical left, Breitbart News’ Brandon Darby saw with his own eyes how Chavez’s government officials have leftist American activists on speed dial.) The Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC), an organization that claims that President Bush made the nation’s water dirty and therefore the EPA needs to be even more authoritarian and intrusive, has put together the “Brewers for Clean Water Campaign.”  So far, according to the High Country News, “the campaign doesn’t require brewers to actually do anything beyond sign letters urging policy makers to take action,” but NRDC’s Karen Hobbs “hopes that the growing visibility of craft brewing–and its support from outdoors lovers–will help convince President Obama to finalize stricter Clean Water guidelines.” 

With NRDC’s record on the issue, it is likely that the “Brewers for Clean Water Campaign” agenda will one day include opposition to fracking. 

I once interviewed Miss Carver about her views of the United States (she loves us!) and asked her what she thought of European anti-Americanism. She explained that each country has its own connections to the US, but as her herself, she said: 

Before I make up my mind I try to get as much information as I can and try to see the things from different kind of views. There is nothing worse than being blind and acting dumb.

That is pretty sound advice, for Germans and Americans alike. So, beer drinkers of the world, don’t get caught up in the hysteria. Stay calm and think these things through. We mustn’t throw away our hopes and dreams for the future needlessly.  

Image credit: rsvlts.com

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