A broad alliance of environmental organisations is writing an open letter to the environment ministers of the states of Brandenburg, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt to demand concrete measures to end coal subsidies that are harmful to the environment and the climate.
Coal companies are evading their legal obligation to be financially liable for the environmental damage they cause.
LEAG and MIBRAG are responsible for the extraction of 470 million cubic metres of groundwater per year, and the resulting sulphate and iron discharges are poisoning surface waters - the costs of which have so far been largely borne by the public purse.
The climate crisis requires an exit from coal as quickly as possible and thus an early closure of the opencast lignite mines. However, this does not mean that the coal companies should be paid with public funds to fulfil their legal obligations to restore the opencast mines.
The ongoing energy crisis has brought exorbitant profit margins to the companies operating coal-fired power plants, and the federal government is holding out the prospect of additional sources of revenue by reactivating lignite-fired power plants. Under the Coal Phase-out Act, they are to receive a further €4.35 billion in public funds as "compensation" (of which LEAG accounted for €1.75 billion), should the European Commission classify them as compatible with EU state aid law in a procedure currently underway.
Cottbus, 24.06.2022. The environmental network GRÜNE LIGA warns of an aggravation of the water shortage in the Spree River due to the German government's planned re-commissioning of the Jänschwalde E and F power plant units. Drinking water supplies for two million people may also be affected. If at all, these units should therefore only be used secondarily to other power plants.
"If units E and F are heavily utilised, the Spree will lose another 13 million cubic metres of water per year through the cooling towers. Since the blocks were last in operation, the water shortage in the Spree region has massively worsened due to the drought years. A renewed increase in cooling water consumption can therefore be at the expense of drinking water production for Berlin and Frankfurt (Oder)," warns René Schuster, lignite expert of the GRÜNE LIGA.
30 YEARS AFTER THE FIRST VILLAGE OCCUPATION AGAINST COAL EXCAVATORS
Lacoma was something special: a village that resisted its resettlement under the conditions of the GDR, later probably the first occupation of a village against lignite mining in Germany, then a temporary art and cultural free space and finally the occasion for the largest tree occupation in Germany at that time. A struggle that was still lost under the conditions of 2007, but laid the foundations for later successful lignite resistance.
At the invitation of the Cottbus' Grüne Liga group, many actors of the Lacoma resistance met on 11 June 2022 at what remains of the original site on the outskirts of Cottbus. In a photo action at the beginning, former Lacoma residents held a large-scale village view in front of the open pit mine, which is being flooded as the planned "Cottbus Baltic Sea". Lacoma was located at the edge of the open-cast mine - only a small part of the village is still recognisable, the largest part has disappeared in the open-cast mine. It was not easy for many to return to such a place. But in the end, the joy of seeing their companions again outweighed them - it was written all over their faces during the celebration.
Potsdam, 9.5.2022. This week, the expert participation in the climate plan enters the second round. On this occasion, 27 stakeholders, who are involved by the Ministry of the Environment (MLUK) as experts in the development of the climate plan, published an open letter to Minister President Woidke today.
The experts from civil society, business and science call on the state government to specify in the climate plan the total amount of residual emissions that Brandenburg will still emit until it achieves climate neutrality. They also demand that these amounts of maximum residual emissions be anchored in a climate protection law. The demand is supported by over 70 Brandenburg organisations from the fields of climate, environmental and nature protection, transport associations, conventional and organic agriculture, forestry and hunting, the energy industry, local civil society initiatives, scientists and members of the Brandenburg Sustainability Advisory Council.
The Jänschwalde opencast mine does not have to be stopped on 15 May, according to today's decision by the Berlin-Brandenburg Higher Administrative Court (OVG). The Higher Administrative Court refused to suspend the current opencast mining permit in summary proceedings and amended a corresponding decision of the Cottbus Administrative Court.
"With today's decision, the legal ambiguity surrounding the Jänschwalde opencast mine continues. The court expressly leaves open whether the opencast mine is currently being operated illegally. This can only be decided in the main proceedings. The region affected by the lowering of the groundwater will be confronted with the consequences of the open-cast mine for a long time to come," says Sascha Müller-Kraenner, national director of Deutsche Umwelthilfe.
"In the case of the Jänschwalde opencast mine, LEAG still lacks several permits to implement its ideas. For example, it is still unclear whether the water extraction, which has so far only been permitted until 2022, can be extended until 2044 as requested by LEAG. In addition, the company wants to deviate from the current lignite mining plan in terms of recultivation and has not yet received permission from the authorities to do so. In all these proceedings, we will intensively examine how the damage to the water balance caused by opencast mining can be effectively minimised," says René Schuster of the GRÜNE LIGA.