04 Oct 2022, 12:14
Edgar Meza

German town next to coal mine that has become symbol for resistance will be demolished

Clean Energy Wire

The town of Lützerath that has become a symbolic battle ground for climate activsits in Germany will be demolished to make room for a nearby coal mine, the state government of North-Rhine Westphalia (NRW) in western Germany has said. The decision to tear down the village located near the Garzweiler mining site came amid a wider revamp of the state's coal policy, by which NRW will end the use of the fossil fuel by 2030 but temporarily increases its use of lignite (brown coal) power plants to provide generation capacity in the energy crisis. The NRW economy ministry, headed by Mona Neubaur of the Green Party, a governing coalition partner with the conservative CDU, said in a statement: “If Lützerath were to be preserved, the production volume required to maintain security of supply over the next eight years could not be achieved, the stability of the opencast mine could not be guaranteed and the necessary recultivation could not be carried out.”
The activist group Lützerath Lebt (Lützerath Lives) countered on Twitter: “The Greens are proving that we cannot count on them when it comes to climate protection. We pay for this ‘supply security’ with our planetary basis of life. Who is to be cared for here? RWE's profits? We demand an economy of needs!”

RWE’s plans nevertheless mean that some 280 million tonnes of coal will remain in the ground. Climate activists have been protesting RWE’s plans since a court earlier this year ruled in favour of the company’s mining site expansion, which would include the area where Lützerath is located. The court had argued there were no alternative open-cast mines to meet necessary lignite demand. “Security of supply is the order of the day,” said RWE CEO Markus Krebber. “At the same time, climate protection remains one of the key challenges of our time. RWE supports both.”

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