Germany ‘readies new fracking rules’

German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses guests during a ceremony to inaugurate the new US embassy building in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on July 4, 2008. German Chancellor Angela Merkel slammed a request by Barack Obama to give a speech this month before the Brandenburg Gate as "inappropriate", her deputy spokesman said on July 9, 2008. AFP PHOTO JOHN MACDOUGALL

Germany plans to soon draw up new rules for shale gas fracturing, with new guidelines to include environmental audits, according to a report.

The new rules, which could be drawn up in a few weeks, will also include a ban on drilling in areas near protected water patches, Reuters reported.

The news wire said that Economy & Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel outlined his plans in a 23 May letter to the head of the parliamentary budget committee.

“The goal is to finalise these drafts in the coming weeks," the letter read, according to Reuters.

A legislative bill laying out conditions under which fracking could be done outside water-sensitive areas was agreed on last year, before it was then put on hold.

Late last year German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Conservatives and their centre-left rivals the Social Democrats (SPD) signed an agreement to form a government that includes a commitment to uphold a ban on fracking.

During the negotiations, the two parties agreed they would maintain Germany’s ban on fracking, in a reversal of the policy of the previous Merkel-led government.

While shale gas fracking has so far been banned in Germany, the previous administration had drawn up legislation that would have allowed for the drilling technique to be used.

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