Beer Is Mainly Water, So Brewers Are Very Worried About Fracking

Brewers are becoming vocal in their opposition to fracking.  Since the quality of beer depends greatly on the quality of the water it is made with, and most good brewers have built their businesses around a reliable source of excellent water, it is only natural that brewery owners get nervous when their is talk of fracking in their area.  As a leading brewer in Cooperstown, NY  put it, “Accidents are happening. Places are getting polluted.”

The owner of the Ommegang brewery in Cooperstown discussed the issue with The Washington Post  recently.  He says that brewers have equipment that  can filter sediment from water and adjust pH levels, but they do not have the equipment to filter out some of the potential toxic chemicals that could enter the water supply via fracking, including benzene, methane and even diesel fuel. If the water becomes polluted, the company may need to truck in water, move or shut down the brewery altogether — a last-ditch effort that would cost the region about many jobs.

Other brewers have voiced similar concerns.  Much of the issue hinges on the who should be permitted to make decisions to allow fracking.  In the Cooperstown area some local farmers are opting to allow fracking. This is not a popular decision among brewers and others, like dairy farmers, who rely on the purity of local water to sustain their businesses.

Unfortunately for Ommegang Brewery, some nearby farms are tempted to sell natural gas leasing rights on their property, deals that could bring them much-needed income. One dairy farmer in Cooperstown said she is convinced fracking can be done safely and it will not threaten milk production on her farm.
Several towns in the region have approved fracking, a contentious decision throughout the area. Another local dairy farmer, Cooperstown Holstein, has filed a lawsuit alleging that only the state, not individual localities, has the authority to approve fracking operations. That case is currently being argued in the New York State Supreme Court.
Reference: Grist