Natural gas hydrofracturing, or fracking, is one of the most controversial new sources of energy. Proponents says it is an economically viable, domestic alternative to foreign oil. Opponents fear its environmental impact and unforeseen consequences, like causing earthquakes and contaminating drinking water with flammable methane. Now the latter party has another con to add to the list, says Esquire’s Eat Like a Man blog: the potential end of great beer.
Brewery Ommegang is worried that a proposed fracking operation near its water supply will result in toxins like benzine, diesel fuel, and methane gas making their way into its beer, the Washington Post reported. Ommegang is based in Middlefield, a town in upstate New York that sits on the natural gas-loaded Marcellus Shale formation. The necessary filtration or importation of clean water would add potentially bankrupting costs to the brewery’s operation, Ommegang said.
For now, it’s up to the New York State Supreme Court, which is set to decide on a lawsuit by the Cooperstown Holstein Corp, which wants to have a local ordinance banning fracking overturned. Depending on the judges’ ruling, this could spell the end of the long reign of beer – or maybe usher in a new era of flammable ales and lagers.