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Germany Agrees on Regulation to Allow Fracking for Shale Gas

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government agreed on draft regulation to allow the tapping of shale gas via hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a practice the opposition says may harm the environment.

The legislation would outlaw fracking in water protection areas and near drinking water wells and would make environmental impact studies mandatory for new projects, Environment Minister Peter Altmaier and Economy Minister Philipp Roesler said in a joint letter obtained by Bloomberg News. The measures would permit the technique in non-restricted areas and provide “a unified legal situation,” the ministers wrote.