Germany & UK Going Opposite Directions on Fracking

The global lust for and controversy over fracking continues. The latest: As Germany's environment and economics ministers decide fracking needs a halt on hydraulic fracturing, the head of Britain's Environment Agency has come out in support of more shale gas.

The BBC characterizes Lord Smith's views on fracking:

Lord Smith told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that he would not stand in the way of fracking in the UK, as long as certain requirements were met.

The former Labour cabinet minister said the process was capable of causing environmental risks, but with careful monitoring these may be overcome.

"We need to do all the tests. We need to be very careful about how we do them. My expectation is that they will be able to do them safely and, if they can, then it would provide a useful addition to our energy mix," he said.

At the same time Spiegel Online reports that German environment minister Norbert Röttgen and economy minister Phillip Rösler are "very skeptical" about fracking, saying that "there are many open questions that we will first have to carefully examine."

Both ministers oppose plans to expand fracking in northern and eastern Germany.

Broadening this out a bit, even though different conclusions about proceeding with fracking have happened in the UK and Germany, in both cases the precautionary principle has been applied to a far greater degree than it has in the US. It's a typical split between the US and EU nations.

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