Tuesday, June 4, 2013

REPOST: Germany drops fracking law until after September's election

Plans to regulate fracking in Germany were  postponed until after September's election. Find out the reason behind it in this Reuters.com article.

* Fracking in Germany hampered by legal uncertainty

* With environmental concerns, technology splits opinion

* Plan for national regulations scrapped for now

BERLIN, June 4 (Reuters) - The German government has suspended plans to regulate fracking until after September's election, prolonging the uncertainty that has hampered development of the gas extraction technology in Europe's biggest economy.

Hydraulic fracturing, which involves pumping water and chemicals at high pressure into the ground, is criticised by environmentalists, who warn of potential seismic effects and water pollution, and political opinion is split on whether to embrace it as a path to cheaper energy.

Angela Merkel's centre-right government had drawn up legislation laying out the conditions for exploration and imposing restrictions on where drilling could take place, but that has now been put on hold.

"The fracking law has failed," Horst Meierhofer, a member of the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) who share power with Merkel's conservatives, told Reuters. Senior conservatives also said the plans had been put on hold.

The law was unlikely to have passed, given resistance from opposition Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens who could block it in the upper house of parliament.

Merkel, riding high in the polls, is seeking a third term in Sept. 22 elections, but it is unclear what sort of a coalition she may be able to form and it is possible she will have to join forces with parties currently in opposition.

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