BERLIN—Germany plans to halt shale-gas drilling for the next seven years over concerns that exploration techniques could pollute groundwater.
"There won't be [shale-gas] fracking in Germany for the foreseeable future," Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks said Friday.
The planned regulations come amid a political standoff with Russia, Germany's main natural gas supplier, and following intensive lobbying from environmentalists and brewers concerned about possible drinking-water contamination.
The production of shale gas requires the application of the hydraulic fracturing technology known as fracking, which involves using a high-pressure mixture of water, sand and chemicals to break apart rocks to release the gas. The government plans to ban the use of hydraulic fracturing technology for drilling operations shallower than 3,000 meters (1.9 miles) and hopes to get a bill ready early next year.
The government will reassess the ban in 2021.
"Protecting drinking water and health has the highest value for us," Ms. Hendricks said.
Congratulations to Germany's greenies and Gazprom! And a foot in the grave for the free market economy ...
The German economy is OK for now, but it is quite clear that the longer term forecast is anything but good.