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US Breweries go to War against Fracking Industry

By Joao Peixe | Tue, 05 February 2013 22:56 | 14

US brewers have now taken up their case against fracking, worried that any potential contamination of ground water supplies would ruin their business. The process of brewing beer requires clean water, with many breweries being built at the sites they are specifically for the mineral composition of the water.

Simon Thorpe, the CEO of the Ommegang Brewery explained to NBC that “it’s all about the quality of the water. The technology surrounding fracking is still not fully developed. Accidents are happening. Places are getting polluted.” His brewery was built in Cooperstown, NY, due to the ready access to fresh water, but “if that water supply is threatened by pollution, it makes it very difficult for us to produce world-class beer here.”

Related article: Why the World May Never Experience a Shale Boom

Simon is worried as local landowners are trying to sell leases of their land to companies for the exploration and extraction of natural gas. Jennifer Huntington, a dairy farmer in the area assured that they are only offering such leases due to their confidence of the safe nature of fracking. “We all love this area, none of us want to see it ruined,” she said.

Purification equipment at the Ommegang Brewery can filter sediment from the water, and alter the pH levels, but it cannot remove some of the chemicals that could potentially enter the water table via fracking, such as benzene, methane, and possibly diesel. If any such chemicals do enter the water supply then the brewery will have to import its water from elsewhere, or close the brewery completely.

Brooklyn Brewery, also in the state of NY, is equally worried and asks for state authorities to protect their water supply.

By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com

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  • BC on February 06 2013 said:
    Maybe also go to war against the local vineyards...they use a LOT of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers.
    That stuff goes directly into the drinking water - unlike fraccing fluid that is injected into gas and oil saturated rocks miles deep and never interacts with groundwater.
  • Randy on February 06 2013 said:
    Oh puhleeze!

    This is another example of the anti~fracking smear campaign. The guy at the brewery isn't worried about gas wells in the area. They pose the same risk to underground water. No, the anti~frackers found a guy who supports their politics and are using him to scare people about fracking. No one living in that area wants their water polluted in any manner, farmers, small villagers and brewers included. Complete nonsense!
  • TedWa on February 06 2013 said:
    Well, this is good news. You've got farmers also complaining that the fracking companies are buying up all the water rights for their processes leaving farmers without needed water. We've already got a glut of NG. Read the story about Ohio having 11 earthquakes where they never had any - due to excessive fracking. What EXACTLY are the chemicals used. Enquiring minds want to know.
  • TakeMe2TheRiver on February 06 2013 said:
    Farmers complaining about having no water are hypocrites because as the owners of the water rights, only they can sell them to the drillers. The farmers are selling the water rights because it's guaranteed income vs. having to fight the weather and see if a flood or drought will ruin the crop. The drillers cannot pull out any more water than the water right allows, which was just as much water as the farmer next door pulled to water his crops. No difference. Just more unsubtantiated sensationalism from an ill-informed anti.
  • Miguel on February 06 2013 said:
    We need clean water more than we need gas. Fracking is a filthy process whose primary results are pollution, property destruction, and profit for corporations; energy is just a side effect. The more that stand against the ridiculous process the better.
  • kenneth on February 06 2013 said:
    Northern Pennsylvania (where I grew up on the NY border) used to be beautiful, peaceful, and bucolic. Aside from frequent water contamination, unreported spills and industry maladies, and the related boom-town behaviors - stabbings, prostitution, drugs and related violence, booze and DUIs, inconsiderate rowdy workers and the guys (travelling from nearby larger towns) slinging sub.s to them - it's great!
    I saw this cast of characters at the bar visiting my folks at home. Lucky for me, i could run away 0.1 miles north into NY to my folks' place. And stay out of PA when visiting.
    Sure, people are the problem here. And Pennsylvania is notoriously short sighted. But, upstate NY don't need this mess, no place does.
    Like it so much? Move to West Virginia! http://wvgazette.com/News/montcoal/201302020046
  • kenneth on February 06 2013 said:
    another example of the state taking care of the people):
    http://wvgazette.com/News/201302060094
  • Paul Roden on February 07 2013 said:
    Fracking is totally unnecessary for our energy needs. Please read the Nov. 2009 issue of Scientific American and their two follow up articles in the March 2011 issue of Energy Policy. We can power the planet by 2030 without fossil fuel or nuclear power. Think that is far fetched, the Germans have adopted a similar plan and will obtain 80% of their energy from renewable energy by 2016 and shut down their nuclear power plants by 2022. I was there last July 2012 for two weeks. Their economy is growing while they are cutting their energy consumption. Everywhere you go there are solar collectors and wind turbines. Fracking is too dangerous, too expensive and totally unnecessary for our energy needs. Thanks, Paul
  • Miguel on February 07 2013 said:
    I would like the pro frackers to take a trip to a fracking site and camp out next to the open produced water pit for a day and a night or buy a cabin 50 feet from a drill site or a compeessor station then tell us how great fracking is. The air stinks; the noise is maddening, the traffic is like rush hour in the woods. The leaked gas, flaring, and off gassing from produced water makes nat gas dirtier than coal. Don't believe me? Google it and read the studies. Water contamination is rampant, non- disclosures and settlements keep folks gagged. The gas industry is a dark example of corporations that have run amok.
  • terence on February 07 2013 said:
    Wake up and look what IS happening in PA.It is not fracking itself ,but the poor ,or careless manner in which water around drill pads is being handled.I beg you to go look at some drill sites.Sediment and erosion control? Wastewater disposal?You can count on an oklahoma roughneck to really look after your property.These guys could not organize a rockfight.See what PA Trout Unlimited has to say about what is going on.Their property values are falling like a rock,everything is just fine.
  • Mary Ann on February 07 2013 said:
    I am laughing at all of you who think fracking does not interfere with ground water, go on YouTube and see the HUNDREDS of videos of people in Ohio, Pennsylvania, NEW YORK, etc. with contaminated drinking water, some people have also died of cancer...once the water is contaminated it cannot be undone...and they have to pass the drinking water and chemicals, methane, etc. such bubble up through, you all are either totally clueless or really don't care about your environment....
  • Dave on February 10 2013 said:
    So. If groundwater somehow gets contaminated someone goes into business selling purified water. More jobs and more profit. If you can't afford clean water you really need to re-evaluate how you're living your life.
  • Miguel on February 11 2013 said:
    Great, so destroy my property so I can be forced to buy water to drink, bathe and wash my clothes but it is all ok because another company will make a profit. I hope you are joking, but this is how the corporatists and their useful idiots think. We really need to take our government back from the profiteers. What we have now is fascism, look it up.
  • Stephen on January 31 2014 said:
    Fracking is a short-term solution with well documented short and long-term dangers. The only ones who benefit from the process are the gas and oil companies and the immediate landowner. Those who frack cannot guarantee the short and long-term safety of the process and the water and air pollution created can never be undone. There is no substitute for water, clean air, and the ozone.

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