Citizens’ groups repeat call for standstill agreement on coal mine expansion in Germany
Several citizens’ and environmental groups in Germany have reiterated their call for a standstill agreement on lignite mine expansion until the speed and scope of the country’s coal phase-out has been determined, Ralph Jansen writes in the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger. The 16 groups say logging and clearing activities in the contested Hambach Forest must be halted, and the demolition of churches, other community buildings, and also a motorway standing in the way of the open pit coal mine must also be stopped. They call for pausing resettlement measures and other preparatory work “until the exact framework and conditions of the coal exit are known,” a task that Germany's coal exit commission currently tries to accomplish. The recent announcement by energy company RWE to resume clearing of the Hambach Forest has caused an outcry among environmentalists, with Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) saying the company is trying to quickly expand its activities in order to claim a higher compensation for a phase-out. RWE rejects the allegations, saying the mines’ size had already been fully determined. However, Dirk Jansen of BUND warns that starting to cut down trees in the Hambach Forest, which has become a symbolic place for climate activists over the last years, might be seen as an “attack on their personal integrity” by many coal commission members. “I don’t know if the commission could still exist in its current constellation after that,” he said.
Find background in the new article Contested forest and loud criticism cloud 3rd coal commission session and in CLEW’s Commission watch and the factsheet on Germany’s coal exit commission.