20 May 2019, 13:25
Benjamin Wehrmann

Church near Hambach Forest prepared for demolition to make room for coal mine

Rheinische Post

A church in the town of Kerpen-Manheim, in the western German Rhenish coal mining region, has been prepared for demolition to expand a nearby coal mine, the Rheinische Post reports. About 400 people gathered for the last mass in the St. Albanus and Leonhardus church in the town near the embattled Hambach Forest, which became a symbolic place for climate activists who want to prevent the forest’s clearing for coal mine expansion. The church is now cleared for demolition and the entire village should be vacated by 2022, the article says. About 150 protesters, including representatives of the Fridays for Future student climate movement, had gathered in front of the church to oppose coal mine expansion.

Although a government-appointed commission agreed that coal-fired power production in Germany should end no later than 2038, several villages in coal mining areas are still slated for demolition to allow coal mine expansion for the time being. The demolition of a protected church in the Rhenish region already caused widespread protests in early 2018. From the 28 members of the coal exit commission, only the representative of the villages threatened by lignite mine extensions in Lusatia voted against the body’s coal exit proposal on grounds that it did not contain assurances to keep threatened villages alive.

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