North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW)
The cabinet of Germany’s most populous federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) has approved a new framework for lignite mining in the state, which confirms an earlier announcement to reduce originally-approved mining plans. NRW’s environment minister Johannes Remmel (Green Party) called the move to reduce plans from 1995 for the extension of the Garzweiler pit, first announced in 2014, “historical”. The decision ended decades of relocations of whole villages to make room for the open-cast pits. “For the first time a state government takes the decision to cut back an existing lignite (mining) plan,” Remmel told a press conference in the state capital of Düsseldorf. The head of the office of the state premier, Franz-Josef Lersch-Mense (Social Democrats), stressed that the decision did not include a time limit to lignite mining in the state in general. The decision reduced the amount of mineable lignite in the state by 400 million tonnes, he said. The government also banned fracking in the state.
Read background on lignite mining and coal in Germany in a CLEW factsheet.