German village to be demolished for lignite mine despite coal exit
A 200-inhabitant German village will be demolished to make way for a lignite coal mine, after many years of uncertainty related to the future of coal power in Germany, Kathleen Weser and Christian Köhler write in the Lausitzer Rundschau. The villagers of Mühlrose, in the eastern German mining region Lusatia, will be relocated so that the nearby lignite mine Nochten can be expanded, mine operator Leag told the villagers at a municipal assembly. The decision was taken just weeks after a national commission agreed on a proposal to stop coal-fired power production by the mid-2030s. Mühlrose’s mayor Waldemar Locke said the decision to relocate had been a “great relief” for his community, as it puts an end to 15 years of uncertainty over the village’s future. Most villagers had agreed to move to a municipality nearby and accepted compensation payments by mine operator Leag. Company CEO Helmar Rendez said that the mine was still needed even after the commission decided on a coal phase-out over the next years. “We have concluded that that the coal reserves near Mühlrose will also be needed in the case of a 2038 coal exit to guarantee an adequate supply for our coal plant Boxberg.”
Over 130 villages have already been resettled in Lusatia since lignite mining began there in the 1860s. Also in the western Rhenish coal district, villages are still being removed to allow coal mining operations to continue, including the demolition of a protected church by energy company RWE in early 2018. From the 28 members of Germany’s 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.