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Lignite mining Jaenschwalde-Nord (Kerkwitz, Grabko, Atterwasch), Germany


Description

In 2007, Swedish government owned enterprise Vattenfall announced plans to expand the 2019 expiring mining in Jaenschwalde to the north. Three villages (Kerkwitz, Grabko and Atterwasch) of about 900 residents would have to resettled according to Vattenfall. As mining border communities also Taubendorf and Great Gastrose would be directly affected. Several Fauna-Flora-Habitat areas protected under the Habitats Directive area would be affected as well as some churches and war cemeteries.

Due to the various effects of the expansion of opencast mining on people and the environment, affected citizens, heritage and environmental justice organizations (e.g. Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union, Nabu) farmers associations, the Left Party and Alliance 90/The Greens, have founded a popular initiative under the slogan No new opencast mines - for a sustainable energy policy in 2007. The Alliance launched a referendum in 2008, which failed in 2009 due to fewer signatures. As a reaction to the strong mobilization against this and other mining projects (see for example Cottbus Sued) in the region, the Brandenburg government is considering a nationalization of Vattenfall’s mining business. Furthermore, the recent decision of the German constitutional court (see Garzweiler II) has decided, that in the future, citizens must be able to file complaints against expropriations and resettlements at an earlier stage. According to Friends of the Earth Brandenburg and Climate-Alliance Germany this court decision will prevent Jaenschwalde-Nord and other proposed mining projects in Brandenburg.

Basic Data

NameLignite mining Jaenschwalde-Nord (Kerkwitz, Grabko, Atterwasch), Germany
CountryGermany
ProvinceBrandenburg
SiteKerkwitz, Grabko, Atterwasch
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 CommoditiesLand

Coal

Project Details and Actors

Project Details250m tonnes of lignite per year
Project Area (in hectares)no data
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Population900
Start Date2007
Company Names or State EnterprisesVattenfall Europe Mining AG from Germany
NUON from Netherlands
Relevant government actorsBrandenburg government
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersNature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (Nabu), Greenpeace, Farmers Associations, the Left Party, Alliance 90/The Greens

The Conflict and the Mobilization

Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Forms of MobilizationCreation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Referendum other local consultations

Impacts

Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, 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
OtherThe regions lignite fired power plants cause annual costs for human health and the environment of about 3 to 5 billion Euro altogether. In its communication to the European Commission Brandenburg calls upon a significant fraction of pollution (on 57% of days when limits were exceeded) to originate from long-range transboundary air pollution, for example from Poland and the Czech Republic.

The air pollution action plan of the municipality of Cottbus from the year 2006 similarly estimates that about half of the urban pollution with particulate matter is actually due to ambient air pollution and not caused by local traffic. Ambient air

pollution is partly caused by the lignite-fired power plants in the greater region.
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place

Outcome

Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Corruption
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Negotiated alternative solution
Strengthening of participation
Application of existing regulations
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Development of AlternativesNo new lignite mining pits, use of renewable energy
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.As a reaction to the strong mobilization against this and other mining projects (see for example Welzow Sued or Cottbus Sued) in the region, the Brandenburg government is considering a nationalization of Vattenfall’s mining business. Furthermore, the recent decision of the German constitutional court (see Garzweiler II) has decided, that in the future, citizens must be able to file complaints against expropriations and resettlements at an earlier stage. According to Friends of the Earth Brandenburg and Climate-Alliance Germany this court decision will prevent Jaenschwalde-Nord and other proposed mining projects in Brandenburg.

Sources and Materials

Legislations

Brandenburg Constitution, German Mining law

References

http://www.econstor.eu/handle/10419/58097

https://www.econstor.eu/dspace/bitstream/10419/67581/1/731432614.pdf

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEsE63Dv9y0

Links

http://www.braunkohle.info/Tagebau

http://gruene-brandenburg.de/themen/energie/braunkohle/

http://www.tagesspiegel.de/berlin/braunkohle-in-brandenburg-kauft-sich-das-land-bald-bei-vattenfall-ein/9387626.html

http://www.google.de/imgres?sa=&Xespvd=210&es_sm=93&biw=1366&bih=667&tbm=isch&tbnid=nljR4nNTREF5qM:&imgrefurl=http://www.zeit.de/2011/39/Lausitz-Braunkohle&docid=hnxNlYs1P-9-MM&imgurl=http://images.zeit.de/wirtschaft/2011-09/karte-jaenschwalde/karte-jaens

Media Links

;art81699,2335752&docid=FonMkimsjCt-nM&imgurl=http://www.lr-online.de/storage/scl/xmliosimport/tdt/1154111_m1mst1w500q75v49230_Sternmarsch.jpeg?version=1231083325&w=500&h=333&ei=iTnqUsejMcnGswb6_oHwAw&zoom=1&iact=rc&dur=393&page=3&start=40&ndsp=23&ved=0CJ
http://www.google.de/imgres?sa=&Xespvd=210&es_sm=93&biw=1366&bih=667&tbm=isch&tbnid=A3J_SHKvLdsiTM:&imgrefurl=http://www.lr-online.de/serien/lokales/tagebau/Braunkohle-Gegner-protestieren-gegen-neue-Tagebaue

http://www.gegenstrom13.de/vattenfall/vattenfall-in-der-lausitz/

Meta Information

ContributorGabriel Weber
Last update13/08/2014