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Germany, France ban fracking indefinitely, while America expands environmentally destructive practice on public and tribal lands


(NaturalNews) You most likely won't be hearing about flammable tap water or mysterious earthquakes in non-seismic zones in Germany anytime soon. That's because the European country's coalition government recently announced support for an indefinite ban on shale gas fracturing, with the exception of isolated test drilling per allowance by state governments.

Despite widespread industry support for the controversial practice, which involves blasting harsh chemicals and water into underground rocks in order to release trapped gas, Germany's "green" caucus has repeatedly said no-go, even if "fracking" might help lower energy costs and strengthen national energy sovereignty – and these sentiments seem to be swaying those with the power to keep a lid on fracking ever gaining momentum.

Germany had last year considered banning fracking, but a parliamentary vote was stalled when strife arose between Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) and the liberal Social Democrats (SPD). Now, the two parties have agreed to a ban, but under the condition that the German parliament will reassess the issue in 2021, a compromise that critics say is just a smokescreen for the eventual approval of fracking.

"The coalition's agreement on a fracking permission law is hair-raising," Hubert Weiger, head of Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND), told reporters. "The law must be stopped and replaced with a true fracking ban."

Europe's approach: when in doubt, always go with the precautionary principle

Even so, the law's approval would at least temporarily restrict fracking in Germany for another half-decade, bringing the country into alignment with France, its European Union sidekick, which has also banned fracking. Great Britain similarly has its own restrictions on the practice, only allowing it under strict environmental and safety guidelines.

Germany has never approved even a single permit for fracking anyway, despite its legality up until this point. But now that the prospect of drillers setting up shop throughout Europe is becoming more of a reality, countries like Germany and France are realizing that unless proper safeguards are put in place now, their lands and livelihoods will eventually pay the price.

Germany is also reconsidering approval for glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller, that's been linked to cancer tumors in rats. Following a World Health Organization (WHO) ruling that glyphosate is likely cancer-causing in humans as well, many countries – at least those that aren't completely controlled by chemical interests – are reevaluating whether or not to continue applying the chemical to their food crops.

The European Commission is poised to offer up a temporary 12–18 months extension for glyphosate, the permit for which is set to expire at the end of June. But strong opposition is pushing towards a ruling at least similar to that for fracking: ban it now as a precaution, rather than risk irreversible damage.

The U.S. approach: anything goes thanks to special interest corruption

Meanwhile, the American approach to threats like fracking and crop pesticides is to simply allow it all and ask questions later. Even the most basic efforts to protect our health and environment from harm (the Obama administration recently tried to outlaw fracking on public lands, only to have a federal judge in Wyoming rule it unconstitutional) are met with hostility from the ruling elite, nearly all of whom are fully controlled by special interests.

Whatever happened to morality, or even basic ethics, when it comes to American policy? To see a day where our own nation's leaders actually consider the long-term impacts of chemically-intensive practices like fracking and industrial agriculture, rather than just dollar signs from their lobbyists, almost seems like a dream.

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