Fracking Will Kill Your Beer

Posted on August 01, 2014
Posted By: Wayne M. Kovach
 

"Yeah, I'll have a cold, frothy pint of hydrochloric acid."

You're not likely to hear this at the neighborhood bar, and beer and wine makers are aiming to keep it that way.

The rise in fracking operations worldwide in recent years has sounded alarms in the beer and wine making industries, as business owners are fearful of what fracking chemicals could do to their water supply. Their concern is centered on what would happen to their companies if toxic chemicals are released into the groundwater. With most energy companies holding their cards close to their vest and not divulging trade secrets, their fear is substantiated.

Germans Take Their Beer Very Seriously

An article from The Guardian sheds light on recent concerns by German beer makers about the effects that fracking could have on their industry. In 2011, ExxonMobil made a horizontal test drill into shale rock in the German town of Lünne, not far from the family brewing business of Friederike Borchert. The proximity to the test site doesn't sit well with her. "For brewers, fracking could spell the end of our existence." With Exxon's recent well-publicized oil spills, concern for safety in the company's fracking practices is well-founded.

With natural gas now playing a bigger role in Germany's energy supply, citizens see a need to have tight regulations to keep the environment safe. Brewers associations in Germany have been successfully lobbying Barbara Hendricks, environment minister, to help update laws that protect water supplies in the brewers' wells and private mineral springs. A department spokesperson stated that Hendricks' group intended to "considerably tighten" fracking legislation.

 New York Vintners Are Cautious, Too

With a decision on fracking in New York yet to be finalized, both fracking opponents and proponents are ramping up their efforts to sway the final result. Wine makers in the state are concerned that their businesses would be adversely affected if the practice were allowed.

Peter Saltonstall and Doug Hazlitt, owners of King Ferry Winery and Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, respectively, recently wrote an opinion piece for Syracuse.com which stated their desire to keep fracking out of New York State. They cited the wine industry's rebuttals, such as yearly contributions of $4.8 billion to the state, 25,000 full-time jobs, and over $408 million in taxes.

Concerned with a sustainable supply of clean water to operate their businesses efficiently, the authors explain,

Fracking would jeopardize the safety of the water we rely on for producing our wine – the same water relied upon by the beer industry and other farm-based beverage industries.

States have confirmed water contamination resulting from fracking, and recent scientific studies by three major American universities – from three different states that permit fracking – substantiate those dangers to water supplies.

That simply doesn't mix with brewing beer, producing wine or other beverages.

They make a solid case for studying the effects of water contamination, and pose a valid question about why Governor Cuomo would consider jeopardizing the benefits of this industry by allowing it.

Do brewers and wine makers have a case?

Energy companies argue that their chemicals are proprietary and harmless when kept under tight controls. Fracking opponents, and people like brewers and vintners, argue that the state is moving in the right direction and the allowance of fracking wouldn't be worth the cost to businesses and existing industries in New York.

You might be an advocate of cheap energy and job creation, but unless you want extra bubbles in your beer or a sour taste in your wine, you might want to consider what these groups are saying.

 
 
Authored By:
Wayne has worked as the SEO Specialist for NRG Business – Demand Response since 2012. Holding degrees in Printing and Graphic Design, he spent the previous 14 years at a yellow page publishing company. Wayne's writing interests include coal, natural gas, oil, and new products. In his free time, he enjoys hockey, Canadian music, Scotch, and spending every second he can get with his 4 year old son.
 

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Comments

August, 01 2014

Ferdinand E. Banks says

I could easily argue that you are wrong, Wayne, and in a seminar room at the Stockholm School of Economics I might do so if the parasites and charlatans who give the orders there were on your side, but I don't Think that I will deal with that issue again until the tennis and swimming season is over here in gorgeous summer Sweden.

You see, there is something very funny about this shale-fracking business. The CEO of Exxon-Mobil, which is a firm that I greatly respect, once said that there are no shale Resources outside the U.S. that could be labeled profitable. This of course is wrong, and he probably knows it, because they have been obtaining oil from shale in Estonia for decades. The Point is though that there have been some environmental issues in that country that nobody talks about, and Mr Exxon-Mobil probably didn't mention Estonia's success with shale because those issues might be brought up..

By the way, you say that natural gas is playing a bigger role in Germany. Hmm. I am working on an Energy Economics 101 book in which I say that the playing of games with Russian natural gas by their customers in Western Europé is stupid, and what the Germans are doing is burning record amount of coal. You might look into that, because I would really like to hear that are German friends are producing or importing more natural gas, because in addition to burning coal they are probably importing more electricity, and if they continute I wont be able to purchase a bottle of that wonderful beer that you said something about,.

August, 03 2014

Michael Keller says

So where do they get their water? Seems to me, given the density of the European population, they should be more worried about where everybody's sewage ends up.

Looks to me like the "fracking" concerns are just more manufactured hysteria created by the "green energy" religion.

August, 05 2014

John Zolan Zolan says

I suppose that if I had a brewery or winery that depended on pure groundwater, I'd want to stop fracking too, even though the probability of contamination is extremely minute, as my water would be more important to me than everyone else's energy.

That said, the title "Fracking WILL Kill Your Beer" seems rather extreme.

August, 05 2014

Fred Linn says

---------" because they have been obtaining oil from shale in Estonia for decades."-----------

Oil shale in Estonia is called Kukersite and they have known about it and used it since 1777. It has been mined and used industrially for over 100 years. Kukersite is generally low grade hydrocarbons that is used mainly as bunker oil and electrical generation. It is far too viscous for it to be extracted by fracking. It is mined and processed from ore, resulting in large abandoned pits, and huge tailings piles.

Total deposits, and quality are far too low to be of much importance in the overall energy market, although it is important in the local Estonian market area.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_shale_in_Estonia

-------" ..........what the Germans are doing is burning record amount of coal."------------

The increase in coal consumption in Germany since the decision to close their nuclear plants has only amounted to 1% or less.

---------" You might look into that, because I would really like to hear that are German friends are producing or importing more natural gas, "-----------

Germany is now producing natural gas(methane, CH4) by AD(anaerobic digestion). Annual production by AD is nearing 20% of methane use. AD produces CH4 from organic agricultural and industrial waste--------and the left over by products are clean water and fertilizer(compost). AD can even produce CH4 from sewage and landfills. Germany has an entire export industry built around the manufacture, sales and set up of AD plants. Germany also is breaking ground in the area of producing CH4 directly from waste industrial CO2 and water using excess wind energy. Audi just opened a plant to do just that using a modified pathway of the Sabatier reaction that has been used on the International Space Station for years. It is producing enough CH4 to power 15,000 CNG powered vehicles in average usage for a years time. The first plant is up and running, and a second plant over 3X the size of the first is nearing completion.

Germany is also working jointly with Japan; completed drilling and is in the process of production testing of methane hydrate deposits in the Sea of Japan. Lessons learned with the Japanese co-operative venture will be used in Germany's own initiative to make use of methane hydrates in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea.

-------" .........because in addition to burning coal they are probably importing more electricity"-------

Germany exports electricity, primarily to France. They have set new records for exports for the last three years, and 2014 appears to be shaping up to be the highest total export year yet.

MK---------" Looks to me like the "fracking" concerns are just more manufactured hysteria created by the "green energy" religion."-----------

If there is any "religion" involved it is the worship of the golden calf of hydro-fracking. The truth is that it is possible to frack wells without the use of toxic chemicals or water resources at all. And in so doing avoids the entire possibility of future contamination by injection disposal entirely. It is propane fracking, available on the commercial market and in use right now.

August, 05 2014

Fred Linn says

---------" That said, the title "Fracking WILL Kill Your Beer" seems rather extreme"--------

Not if you take your beer as seriously as they do in Germany and Denmark.

August, 05 2014

Stefan Amraly says

Wayne, by implying that fracking has a significant enough impact to effect the wine industry demonstrate serious lack of knowledge in the energy industry. Energy impacts the entire community and one should do real study before making statements that could have a wide effect

I suggest a move from blogging to writing.

Lotus Energy Group Stefan Amraly

August, 05 2014

Fred Linn says

------" I could easily argue that you are wrong, Wayne........"--------

That dog barks a lot but he ain't got any teeth.

August, 05 2014

Richard Goodwin, Ph. D., P.E. says

Besides the commentary below I suggest the following link

Goodwin, R.W. “USA Hydraulic Fracturing Technology Evolves and Improves”; Energy Central, May 8, 2014 http://www.energycentral.com/generationstorage/fossilandbiomass/articles/2904

Note also that every play or geological formation requiring a unique menu of chemicals to achieve effective shale gas/oil recovery - private sector firms often consider these unique menu as proprietary -

Fracking Bans are not justified

There are now 422 fracking bans in the USA and more are being proposed everyday (1). The state of the technology of Hydraulic fracturing or fracking shows that it can be properly applied to reduce environmental risks and damages. Both the ex-Mayor of New York City and the President of the Environmental Defense Fund agree that fracking can be conducted properly by approaching the technology using “data acquisition and management problem (solving)” techniques (2). Their approach should be integrated with the application of sound engineering principles. My white paper “Environmental Perspective Hydraulic Fracturing” (3) accepted by USEPA (4/5/14) for their Scientific Advisory Board [SAB] Hydraulic Fracturing Research Advisory Panel [I have been involved with this SAB for over one year] demonstrates that cost-effective engineering applications have improved hydraulic fracturing performance. Reduce Methane Emissions - By plugging leaks in compressors and pipes, producers can cut emissions of methane, a potent heat-trapping gas, according to a report [March 2014] by the Environmental Defense Fund and ICF International Inc., a consultancy specializing in energy and the environment. The $2.2 billion cost would be offset over time by the sale of captured gas, the study estimates. At approximately $10MM per well, the industry can afford to spread $2.2B over the costs of new and existing wells. The industry is expected to invest trillions of $US over the next several years in unconventional oil and gas development. Cement Well/Build Better Wells and Get Better Data - The USEPA has established a Scientific Advisory Board to Review Methodology and Technology mitigating effect of fracking on water quality. Also ASTM, API etc. have established standard setting committees for drilling [e.g. well cementing], fracking, production water options. During the next two years the efforts of experienced participants should change the way that fracking operations are implemented, managed and regulated. The SAB’s work will continue until 2015 – both existing and grass-roots drilling projects will be monitored. Recycling Wastewater - Recycling frac wastewaters would not only save operators money and secure ‘fast track’ permits, but reuse would avoid deep well injection – removing a high potential contributing factor to localized earthquakes. Such articles eliminate much of the uncertainties about hydraulic fracturing – creating a more reasonable tone to improve the process without creating fear of the unknown.

(1) Jennings,D: “Fracking Bans Spread Even As Science Reduces Perceived Danger”; Alpha Energy June 26, 2014 (2) Bloomberg, M.R. and Krupp, F.’ “The Right Way to Develop Shale Gas”; The Wall Street Journal; 4/30/14 (3) http://yosemite.epa.gov/sab/sabproduct.nsf/D3AE85DC5A40EEC885257CB3004E03F8/$File/Public+comments+submitted+by+Goodwin,+Richard-4-4-14.pdf . Richard W. Goodwin West Palm Beach FL

August, 05 2014

Fred Linn says

-------" The state of the technology of Hydraulic fracturing or fracking shows that it can be properly applied to reduce environmental risks and damages."------------

CAN be is not the same as WILL be.

---------" Recycling Wastewater - Recycling frac wastewaters would not only save operators money and secure ‘fast track’ permits, but reuse would avoid deep well injection – removing a high potential contributing factor to localized earthquakes."---------

"fast tracking permits" is just a fancy way of saying give us a free hand to do anything we want in any slipshod way we want-----and by the time anyone finds out about what we have done we will have long since grabbed the cash and run.

Hydro fracking should be outlawed completely. That way there is no water or toxic chemicals to inject.

August, 06 2014

John Zolan Zolan says

"Hydro fracking should be outlawed completely. That way there is no water or toxic chemicals to inject."

Maybe we should outlaw driving. That way, there would be no traffic fatalities or pollution from internal combustion engines. Maybe we should outlaw chemotherapy. That way, there would be no side effects.

August, 06 2014

Fred Linn says

Water and toxic chemicals are not required for fracking.

The same result can be achieved using propane fracking. Propane fracking uses neither water resources nor toxic chemicals.

Hydro fracking should be prohibited to reduce risk exposure. The same way that seat belts and air bags are required to reduce risks with traffic accidents.

August, 06 2014

Ferdinand E. Banks says

I'll put it this way Fred Linn. Your remarks about Germany are crank. You see, you dont have the slightest idea of what is taking Place in Germany and Japan. Nuclear in Germany is being replaced with coal, subsidies and imports. Everybody knows that. Or better, it is replaced with coal and subsidies and imports, and a portion of the German population is taking a fall in one way or anotherl.

As for the methane hydrate nonsense, and it is nonsense, you just dont know what you are talking about. I dont dismiss methane hydrates, but I do dismiss them as a meaningful energy source at the present time. You also must have a problem with the English language, because I did not say anything about fracking in Estonia - although if asked I might have said it. What I said was that shale oil is produced in Estonia, and has been produced in Estonia for a long time, and there have been some environmental issues associated with Estonian shale which certain people dont want to talk about.

About German electricity exports. That is the biggest lie or misunderstanding of all. Germany locks down its nuclear plants, and the next thing you know they are setting export records for electricity, HAVE YOU ANY IDEA OF HOW ABSURD THAT SOUNDS? That's the same kind of lie as George W. Bush and his weapons of mass destruction. What you don't understand Mr Linn - and maybe can't understand - is that as long as their are people in a country who can be used,, exploited, you can say and do as you please. This is because the chickens don't come home to roost right away.

About fracking. I've said it a dozen time and I'll say it again. Shale oil and gas are important Resources, and fracking is either a useful production technique or can be made a useful technique. But shale oil and gas may not - may not - be as important that certain people want us to Believe they are, and fracking has to be carefully regulated.

..

August, 06 2014

Don Hirschberg says

In 1958 I had some experience with water for brewing in a very unlikely place; The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. I never understood how they rationalized having brewery in this Islamic country. I was in Jordan to start up a catalytic cracker at their oil refinery in Zarqa. It was natural that I became acquainted with the English manager af the AMSTEL Brewery.- we faced some similar problems

He deionized his water supply and ;made Dutch water by adding what it took to make it chemically the same as the water used in Amsterdam. I don't recall having problems making suitable boiler feed water.

I have heard many hysterical stories about fracking contaminating water but precious few facts. This article is a case in point..

August, 08 2014

Fred Linn says

January 17, 2014 2:15 pm

Methane hydrates could be energy of the future

By Sylvia Pfeifer

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/8925cbb4-7157-11e3-8f92-00144feabdc0.html#axzz39pJemUFn

August, 08 2014

Fred Linn says

Germany Fossil Fuel Production Drops, Electricity Exports Soar

March 26th, 2014 by Giles Parkinson

http://cleantechnica.com/2014/03/26/decrease-fossil-fuel-production-germany/

August, 08 2014

Fred Linn says

I see no kind of substantiation or reference for prof. Banks assertions at all.

August, 08 2014

Fred Linn says

Lignite use in Germany is down 1.6% even though energy production from coal plants is up-----this is due to increased efficiency of production facilities.

Primary and final energy http://www.renewablesinternational.net/coal-consumption-in-germany-a-closer-look/150/537/75863/Coal consumption in Germany – a closer look

August, 08 2014

Malcolm Rawlingson says

Ms Merkel is adept at the art of smoke and mirrors.

As you will note by studying a map of Europe and particularly the border between France and Germany, a significant number of French nuclear power plants are located adjacent to the German border,

As any person with any common sense will realize you cannot simply shut off all nuclear power production in Germany without either reducing consumption or getting the power from somewhere else, That somewhere else is France and other interconnections with neighbours. French nuclear power plants are providing Germany with replacement electricity. It is NOT coming from solar installations or from wind. as the great and wonderful Ms M would have us believe.

Solar production in Germany sounds too good to be true - because it is. At night and on the frequent cloudy days in Germany I do assure you solar output is low or zero. The difference is being made up by France and its 24hour-a-day highly reliable fleet of PWR's. Without that Ms Merkel could not continue her deception.

But since I don't much like German beer - much prefer a nice Guinness made from the waters of the River Liffy in Dublin - fracking in Europe will not affect my beer consumption. But even if it did I would consider possible pollution from fracking operations to be a distant second to all the other crap dumped into the rivers and soils of Germany over the years.

So drink Guinness and allow fracking in Germany is the sensible solution.

Malcolm

August, 08 2014

Michael Keller says

Fred Linn, Your assumption that lignite burning coal plants are more efficient seems inconsistent with the machines capabilities. Maybe some of the German plants are burning higher quality coal, which would improve efficiency while reducing lignite consumption. Also, coal plants tend to do better in the winter when cooling water is colder, although if the coal is wetter, efficiency drops. Bottom line, quoting statistics can be misleading; need to know more about how the information was compiled before leaping to conclusions.

August, 09 2014

Don Hirschberg says

I suspect there is confusion among us as to what Fred Linn refers to as production efficiency. I, for example, thought he meant economic efficiency, not thermal efficiency. That is, how efficient is the mining, handling and transporting is of the essence.

The thermal efficiency of a generic Rankine plant burning coal is necessarily higher than one burning lignite. High moisture content and ash content are severe efficiency lowerers. This efficiency is measured in BTUs per Kwh or equivalent Cents per Kwh is quite another thing.

I am puzzled by the great interest in Germany. Here is one of the richest and most developed and stable countries in the world with only 1% of the population trying to be ever-so green. They don't seem to being doing so well – but even if they succeed what does this mean for the other 99%?

August, 09 2014

Malcolm Rawlingson says

The other 99% are purchasers of the not-so-ever-so-green BMW's that they make. Much prefer Jaguars myself far superior engineering and styling.

One of the traits of the alternative energy crowd is the misuse of energy terms. Generally in my view it is deliberate since they ought to know better. Efficiency is a meaningkess term - just a percentage number. What is important is the definition of the number above the division line and the number below the division line. Quoting percentages without that information is meaningless (but it sounds as though you know what you are talking about doesn't it).

A change in efficiency of 1.6% id nothing - as Michael noted easily within the bpounds of burning wet coal as opposed to dry coal. MAy be the increase was due to the coal heap being dry that day.

So muc BS if you ask me.

Malcolm

August, 09 2014

Ferdinand E. Banks says

Nuclear locked down, Exports of electricity increase. Just complete ignorance and illogic.

And Professor Banks does not need an endorsement from Sylvia Pfeifer, and if he received one would not accept it. .

August, 09 2014

Don Hirschberg says

Yes Malcolm. The word “power” is nearly always misused on this site. I try to not use the word at all. Alas, we seem to be stuck with “power plants” and “power bill”which have nothing to do with the rate of doing work. When I use efficiency I mean e=energy out over energy in. I think nobody in the media and no politician knows what these words mean. - And I'm afraid many engineers.

August, 10 2014

Don Hirschberg says

Professor, I never heard of Sylvia Pfeifer. I got curious perhaps because a sister of my father's mother married a Pfeifer. Uncle Charley. But all I've learned is she is a Brazilian TV actress and is 1.80 tall. So please tell me why she is mentioned on EnergyPulse?

August, 10 2014

Fred Linn says

France exports electricity to all of its neighbors except one.

France imported more that 8 TeraWatts from Germany in 2012 and even more last year. This year is on course to set a new record.

http://energytransition.de/files/2013/02/PowerExportsImports.jpg

August, 10 2014

Don Hirschberg says

Oh. we have a game ! What qualifies as a neighbor? Must they share a border? Or could it be like the second house? Can there be water between as in English Channel? Do any of these 7 countries also export any electricity to France or is the traffic only from France. .Does the one country that gets no electricity from France sell any to France? What was the net transfer with Germany ? I can hardly wait for the correct answers.

August, 11 2014

Malcolm Rawlingson says

Thanks for the application of logic Don. There is but one definitioon of efficiency = energy out/energy in X 100. We must be "old school" since most of the folks including some here have no clue as to what it means or how it is defined.

Must admit to being guilty of the misuse of the term power. You are quite right of course. Work is Force times distance and power is the rate at which you can do that which is Force x distance per second.

Basic stuff but so many are not taught the basics any more so they don't know.

And again you are right in that electrcity connections ("power" lines) between countries carry electricty both ways all the time so it is a net number not the amount exported or imported. That number means nothing (but it sounds good).

I think our dear Fred Linn here must be in a dream world if he thinks you can shutdown 20% of electrcity production facilities and suddenly have enough electricity to export all arpound Europe. That is not happening or it is output from the German Ministry of Smoke and Mirrors.

Malcolm

August, 11 2014

Don Hirschberg says

Yes, and we created the word problems largely as a self- inflicted wounds by continuously using existing words. My formal education ended before electronics. and a computer was a human being who did calculations. In fact I was puzzled by using the word computer for computers.. They were calculators.

I still can't get used to to computer experts who don't have the least knowledge of computers. They are experts on using certain programs to do useful things. They have no more idea of how a computer works than than the user of a refrigerator knows how a refrigerator works.

I want to shut down this computer so I must I must first press START. Thanks for the kind words.

August, 12 2014

Fred Linn says

What is this? Everyone here is an expert in French energy markets and economics but not a one of you speaks French?

Most of the country names are close enough to English to be recognizable.

Allemagne is Germany in French.

Importe means 13.9 TerraWatts came into France from Germany. Exporte means 5.2 TerraWatts went from France into Germany.

France imported 8.7 TerraWatts net from Germany.

Lecon Francaise c'est finis.

http://energytransition.de/files/2013/02/PowerExportsImports.jpg

August, 12 2014

Fred Linn says

There you go Don, the correct answer.

August, 12 2014

Don Hirschberg says

Yes, I do know french is still in use – I just don't know why.

Watts are a unit of power, not energy. I think you meant to say watts-hours x10^12.,

Germany uses about 900 watts per capita or about 900x82x10^6x24x365=670x10^12 watt hours per year. If this record-breaking net interchange is 8.7 watt hours x 10^12 per year then this amounts to 8.7/670 or 1.3% of German usage.

It is interesting to note that Canadian per capital electricity use is 21/2 times greater than Germany's.

August, 13 2014

Fred Linn says

---------" It is interesting to note that Canadian per capital electricity use is 21/2 times greater than Germany's."------------

Which would be a good thing to remember when you and others here are asserting beyond question that any drop in electrical generation capacity is tantamount to the end of all civilization.

I've been to Germany many times, and I can assure you that it as modern, civilized and comfortable as any place here. In many places more so. I am partial to the south, Munchen and the Schwarzfeld. It might be a totally foreign concept to many here, but the Germans are overwhelming conservative----the believe in saving and preserving their culture, history and environment.

August, 14 2014

Don Hirschberg says

The point was that Canada uses an extraordinary amount of electricity. German usage is tyical of developed countries.

The crack about "any drop in generation capacity ..." is totally off-target. (Perhaps you did get to enjoy the town of Hirschberg.)

August, 14 2014

Robert Kirn says

Has everyone by now come to the conclusion that Mr.Kovach is yet another of the indoctrinated who serve as a mouthpiece for those who are using "the environment" as a red herring to advance self-serving global financial and political agendas? His assertions are totally subjective but, as is now so commonplace, are presented as scientifically validated fact. The environmental movement, as with so many social programs, started with an honest and worthwhile agenda some fifty plus years ago. Unfortunately, it has long since been hijacked by opportunists using the threat of global catastrophe absent universal adherence to their personal agenda. Their goal is not environmental protection - never has been. The scientific community has an obligation to provide scientifically validated fact and to challenge the propaganda being thrown at a gullible public by those who abuse the environment as a tool for personal gain.

August, 14 2014

Don Hirschberg says

Yes Robert, I have had similar thoughts. David Crane, boss of NRG the parent of Kovach's Energy Curtailment Specialists, Inc. had a 2013 income of nine million, or in CPA speak $ 8,978,258. The associated sites feature slogans appropriate for protesters signs.

August, 18 2014

Richard Vesel says

Fred, I too have enjoyed the civilization of Germany, from many aspects. Favorite towns: Ladenburg, Heidelburg, Mannheim, Speyer, and especially the beautiful picturesque village of Schwäbisch Hall.

The Germans are pretty mindful of their energy consumption, except in the high-speed lane of the autobahn. And the one thing I did miss while there was easy access to ice for a cold drink. Just a small problem, however...

Definitely not on the brink of collapse due to low energy use. Quite the opposite, in fact.

RWV

August, 20 2014

Don Hirschberg says

Once again. Germany does not have low energy usage.

Here are some numbers in watts per capita. European Union 688. India 90. Germany 861. Japan 774. France 804. UK 622.

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