Lignite mining Garzweiler II (Immerath), Germany

Description
The German towns Immerath, Pesch and Luetzerath will soon be wiped off the map to allow energy giant RWE to enlarge its huge open-pit lignite mine of Garzweiler in the state of North Rhine-Westfalia. Lignite extracted at Garzweiler directly feeds the RWE power plants. The site of Garzweiler I (in operation since 1983) is being filled in progressively with earth dug out of Garzweiler II, which will measure 48 square kilometres. Some 7,600 people are being moved in all. Of Immeraths 900 inhabitants, about 100 are still waiting to leave. The rest have resettled into Immerath-Neu (New Immerath), which has sprung out of the ground in the same district of Erkelenz, or gone elsewhere. New cemetery, school and kindergarten have been built in New Immerath, however, there is no church to replace the old one, which will be deconsecrated in October 2013.
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Basic Data
NameLignite mining Garzweiler II (Immerath), Germany
CountryGermany
ProvinceNorth Rhine-Westphalia
SiteImmerath/ Pesch/ Lützerath
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Coal extraction and processing
Specific CommoditiesLand
Coal
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsGarzweiler II (2006-2045): 48 square kilometers, 1.3 billion tonnes of lignite, 35-40 million tonnes per year
Project Area (in hectares)4,800
Level of Investment (in USD)270,000,000: only for relocation of infrastructure
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Population7,600
Company Names or State EnterprisesRWE power (RWE) from Germany
Relevant government actorsNorth Rhine-Westphalia government
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersDie Gruene (The German Green Party), Union for the environment and nature conservation Germany, Friends of the Earth Germany, Climate-Alliance Germany
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Local government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Forms of MobilizationCreation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Public campaigns
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Soil erosion
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Increased prices for CO2 emissions allowances, decrease of power prices
Development of AlternativesWithdraw from mining, promotion of renewable energy
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.The energy company RWE according to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung (08.10.2013) is considering for cost reasons, the early closure of the North Rhine-Westphalian lignite mining Garzweiler II. The mine should be operated only until the coal is mined in the region, whose villages have been resettled. This would be the case in 2017 or 2018 at the latest. In new resettlement RWE would do without. The original plan was to reduce by 2045 coal in the region. The reason: The operation of large power plants around Garzweiler less and less profitable. The growing supply of wind and solar energy can be so strong drop prices on the electricity exchanges that power plants are increasingly rare in the network. The lignite is because of their environmental impact is also more and more in the criticism. Coal power plants are the most important causes of climate change. A withdraw from lignite mining from 2018 would save 3,000 people from relocation.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

German Mining Law

German constitution

References

Bund - Friends of the Earth Germany
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Links

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Media Links

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Meta Information
ContributorGabriel Weber
Last update26/06/2014
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