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GRÜNE LIGA publishes background information and positions on the consequences of lignite mining on the water balance

kohle.wasser.geld_282x384-equal.PNGCottbus, 10.02.2022. The environmental network GRÜNE LIGA has already issued numerous expert statements on how to deal with the water balance in Lusatia, which has been significantly disturbed by lignite mining. Under the title "Coal.Water.Money.", the most important contexts and demands have now been clearly summarised and published.

Opencast lignite mines are among the most serious interventions in the water balance and have shaped Lusatia for many decades. Problems caused in the process were often left to later generations to solve. This is becoming increasingly difficult with the decision to phase out coal: now all the cards must be on the table. What are the real follow-up costs of the opencast mines? Who is responsible as the polluter and to what extent? Above all, there are only a few years left to find out what damage can still be avoided or reduced.

The paper clearly contradicts claims that an early coal phase-out would aggravate the water problem: "The fact is: between the decommissioning of the opencast mines and the end of the groundwater rise, there will be a bottleneck in the flow in the Spree - and this is completely independent of whether coal use ends in 2038 or earlier. The cause of the water shortage is the opencast mining itself, which has removed the groundwater supply in the river's catchment area," says René Schuster, author of the paper.

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Environmental associations win in court: Jänschwalde opencast lignite mine must be stopped


  • Deutsche Umwelthilfe and GRÜNE LIGA successful with urgent application against main operating plan before Cottbus Administrative Court
  • For years, operator LEAG has been pumping out drastically more groundwater than permitted by water law.
  • Opencast mining must be stopped by 15 May
  • DUH and GRÜNE LIGA demand that the missing recultivation concept be submitted without delay.

Berlin/Cottbus, 17.03.2022: Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) and GRÜNE LIGA have succeeded in stopping the Jänschwalde opencast lignite mine in court. The Cottbus Administrative Court today ruled in favour of the environmental organisations and suspended the main operating plan for the open-cast lignite mine. The reason is that for years the open-cast mining company LEAG has been pumping out drastically more groundwater than permitted by the water law. The amount is now many times the permitted annual volume. The court grants LEAG a time buffer of almost two months until 14 May to take the necessary safety measures to stop opencast mining. From 15 May, the excavators must then be at a standstill.

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Consistently reduce nitrogen and phosphate pollution in German waters - fertiliser legislation requires comprehensive amendment

SN187095622_4060959247296512_6518992184506615432_n_395x263-equal.jpgAssociations and organisations of the "Nitrate Initiative" call on the new federal government to consistently implement the EU Nitrate Directive. This is prompted by the current negotiations between the federal government and the German states and the EU Commission to improve fertiliser legislation in view of the ongoing EU infringement proceedings on the EU Nitrates Directive. The signatories include BUND, BDEW, Deutsche Umwelthilfe, Deutscher Naturschutzring, Germanwatch, Greenpeace, Grüne Liga, Global Nature Fund, Verdi and WWF.

Specifically, the organisations involved are calling for a new designation of nitrate-polluted and eutrophic areas on the basis of concrete measured values, as the previous modelling is not EU-compliant. According to calculations available to the Nitrate Initiative, nitrate- and phosphate-polluted areas in the federal states have so far been artificially reduced by up to 50 percent and necessary protective measures have been suspended. In addition, fertilisation control is not possible due to the lack of specifications in the Material Flow Balance Ordinance. As a result, about 24 percent of groundwater bodies are still not in compliance.

The organisations of the Nitrate Initiative also advocate, in particular, a compulsory material flow balance for all farms, as well as the publication of manure imports and the presentation of a national catalogue of measures to curb manure tourism. In addition, they expect the measures to reduce nitrate and phosphate pollution to be included and published in the third management plans for the implementation of the Water Framework Directive, as well as the definition of suitable water and environmentally compatible management measures for nitrate-polluted and eutrophic areas. "The Nitrates Directive must finally be implemented in such a way that the requirements of European law are met and agriculture has planning security. Of course, targeted support programmes and cooperative approaches should continue to play an important role in this context," the organisations said.

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The value of water is not measured by the pricelabel!

More efforts to uphold the human right to water and preserve the precious commons demanded by government

Pinnower_See_366x243-equal.jpgBerlin, 19thMarch 2021 - On the occasion of World Water Day on 22th March, environmental and development organisations as well as representatives of the public water sector are calling on the German government to address the conflicts over water more strongly and to find appropriate solutions for our livelihoods. These must be based on the human right to water!



Under the motto "The Value of Water", the United Nations is calling for this year's World Water Day and thus to address the importance of this precious resource. For billions of people worldwide, the human right to clean drinking water and hygienic sanitation is still an unfulfilled goal. At the same time, scarce freshwater resources and their associated ecosystems are being overexploited, polluted and destroyed all over the world. The climate crisis is massively exacerbating the global water crisis with increasing weather extremes, putting ecosystems and thus the livelihoods of humans and nature at additional risk. Conflicts over the use of water will increase.

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Position paper: "Water protection in European agriculture"

Without fundamental changes in European agricultural policy, the goals of the Water Framework Directive cannot be achieved. Nutrients and pesticides, but also the transformation of watercourses for intensive agriculture, are causing problems for water bodies. The GRÜNE LIGA Federal Contact Point for Water has compiled some positive approaches across the EU and published them in cooperation with the European Environmental Bureau EEB in the brochure: "Agri-Water-Nexus - Agricultural practices that protect water".

positionspapier_EEB_GL_Water-Agri-NEXUS2019_EBOOK_100x142-equal.jpgThe position paper can be downloaded here (pdf 1.1 MB).


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