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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

Name of conflict:Lignite mining Jaenschwalde-Nord (Kerkwitz, Grabko, Atterwasch), Germany
Country:Germany
State or province:Brandenburg
Location of conflict:Kerkwitz, 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 commodities:
Land
Coal

Project Details and Actors

Project details:

250m tonnes of lignite per year

Project area:no data
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:900
Start of the conflict:2007
Company names or state enterprises:Vattenfall Europe Mining AG from Germany
NUON from Netherlands
Relevant government actors:Brandenburg government
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (Nabu), Greenpeace, Farmers Associations, the Left Party, Alliance 90/The Greens

Conflict and 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 a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Referendum other local consultations

Impacts of the project

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
Other Health impactsThe 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-economical ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place

Outcome

Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Corruption
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Negotiated alternative solution
Strengthening of participation
Application of existing regulations
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Development of alternatives:No new lignite mining pits, use of renewable energy
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain: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

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Brandenburg Constitution, German Mining law

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

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 to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

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

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

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

;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

Meta information

Contributor:Gabriel Weber
Last update13/08/2014