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Lignite mining Nochten II, Germany


In December 2006, Vattenfall applied to the Regional Planning Association Upper Lusatia-Lower Silesia in order to extract 300,000,000 tonnes of lignite in the area. For the open-cast mining a displacement of 1,500 people from Rohne, Mulkwitz, Mühlrose, and Schleife is necessary. In October 2013 the Regional Planning Association Upper Lusatia-Lower Silesia has approved the open-cast mining Nochten II. A broad range of environmental justice organizations (EJOs) are opposing the mining proposal of Vattenfall. The initiative Strukturwandel-jetzt is the leading opposition group against the mine. It has placed internet pages with information. The initiative is supported by larger EJOS such as Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND), Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (Nabu) and smaller EJOS such as Nature Friends Germany. Also other organizations are part of the initiative such as political parties The Left and Alliance 90/The Greens. Protest actions have included demonstrations, cultural expositions, climate camps, village and heritage celebrations, production of alternative knowledge, open letters to the German government and to associations in favor of lignite mining. Currently the state government has to decide about the mining project. Opponents have stated to sue against the mining plans.

Basic Data
Name of conflict:Lignite mining Nochten II, Germany
State or province:Saxony
Location of conflict:Rohne, Mulkwitz, Muehlrose, Trebendorf, Schleife
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional 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 commodities:Coal
Project Details and Actors
Project details

300m tonnes of lignite, 18m tonnes of lignite/ per year, time of extraction 2026-2046

Project area:1,200
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:1,500
Start of the conflict:12/2005
Company names or state enterprises:Vattenfall Europe Mining AG from Germany
NUON from Netherlands
Relevant government actors:Regional Planning Association Upper Lusatia-Lower Silesia, Saxon Ministry of the Interior
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Left Party, Alliance 90/The Greens, Green League, Friends of the Earth Germany, Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union, Naturfreunde Deutschlands, Eine Spinnerei
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil erosion, 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: Desertification/Drought, Soil contamination
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Other environmental related diseases
Other Health impactssee description Welzow-Sued
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Land dispossession
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Negotiated alternative solution
Violent targeting of activists
Application of existing regulations
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Development of alternatives:Stop open cast mining, focus on renewable energy
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The Regional Planning Association Upper Lusatia-Lower Silesia has approved the open-cast mine. Now, the Saxon Ministry of interior can approve the open-cast mine. If that happens Environmental Justice Organization will sue against the decision at the court.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Saxon Constitution

German Mining law

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Gerbaulet, C., Egerer, J., Oei, P. Y., & von Hirschhausen, C. (2012). Abnehmende Bedeutung der Braunkohleverstromung: weder neue Kraftwerke noch Tagebaue benötigt. DIW-Wochenbericht, 79(48), 25-33.

von Hirschhausen, C., & Oei, P. Y. (2013). Gutachten zur energiewirtschaftlichen Notwendigkeit der Fortschreibung des Braunkohlenplans Tagebau Nochten: Im Auftrag der Klima-Allianz Deutschland (No. 72). DIW Berlin: Politikberatung kompakt.

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Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Excavated Away - Lignite mining eats into Brandenburgs villages
[click to view]

Grandpa Without Lobby
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Gabriel Weber
Last update18/08/2019
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