German environment minister against mine expansion during coal commission’s mandate
Germany’s environment minister, Svenja Schulze, has weighed in on the dispute between environmental groups and energy company RWE over the expansion of a lignite mine and the clearing of a nearby forest, tagesschau.de reports. “If we want to achieve a consensus in society, no precedents should be created” while the country’s coal exit commission is still debating over how to manage the fossil fuel phase-out. She said logging activity in the embattled Hambach Forest, where environmental activists for years have fought off attempts by RWE to cut down trees in the way of a lignite mine, would create an “unbearable” situation – much like a situation "in which we would casually decide to close a coal plant while we still negotiate”, Schulze said. Mine owner RWE said it was “irritated” that the environment minister is linking the commission’s work to the Hambach mine, since the commission itself said it did not see a connection between its work and efforts to directly influence current mining activities. RWE says expanding the mine now is necessary to avoid short-term supply bottlenecks for nearby coal plants.
Find the article in German here.
For background, read the CLEW article Coal commission keeps out of lignite mine expansion dispute, the Commission watch – Managing Germany’s coal phase-out, and the factsheet Germany’s coal exit commission.