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Lignite mining Jänschwalde (Horno), Germany


In 1994 the Brandenburg state government decides the lignite mining plan Jaenschwalde and thereby continuation of the mine Jaenschwalde (operated by the enterprise Laubag) to the Sorbian village of Horno (in Lower Sorbian: Rogow). Against this approval, the municipality of Horno filed suit to the Administrative Court of Cottbus. The country s Constitutional Court declared the lignite mining plan Mining Jaenschwalde unconstitutional. According to the state constitution the dissolution of a municipality requires a law. In 1997 the Lignite Mining Policy Act (Horno Law) was decided by the Parliament of Brandenburg. Thereafter, Horno was dissolved and integrated into the community Jaenschwalde. Thereafter the PDS parliamentary party and the municipality Horno filed suit to the the country s constitutional court action against this law because it violates the constitutional rights of the Sorbs. In 1998 people from Horno filed suit against the Federal Republic of Germany at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, which was rejected in 2000. Later another lawsuit by a forest owner from Horno was successful at the first instance and leaded to a stop of mining just outside of Horno. However, the approval was rejected by the second instance. In 2001, after the takeover of Laubag by the Swedish government owned enterprise Vattenfall, the Swedish parliament discusses the Horno case, without any positive outcome for Horno. The resettlement of the citizen from Horno starts in 2002. The last people remaining in Horno (Gromm family) were dispossessed in 2004. The last house was vacated in 2005.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Lignite mining Jänschwalde (Horno), Germany
State or province:Brandenburg
Location of conflict:Horno/ Jänschwalde
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:

Project Details and Actors

Project details:

Overburden: 143,000,000 tonnes per year, Lignite mining: 13,000,000 tonnes per year

Project area:60,150
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:350
Company names or state enterprises:Vattenfall Europe Mining AG from Germany
NUON from Netherlands
Relevant government actors:The government of Brandenburg
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Greenpeace, BUND (Friends of the Earth Germany)

Conflict and Mobilization

IntensityLATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
Reaction stageUnknown
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
International ejos
Local ejos
Forms of mobilization:Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism

Impacts of the project

Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil erosion, 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 contamination
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place


Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Development of alternatives:stop lignite mining, focus on renewable energy
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Major part of the village were deconstructed in 2004. The last remaining couple was dispossessed in 2005.

Sources and Materials

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Constitution of Brandenburg

German Mining Law

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

HEAL, Health impacts of lignite-fired power plants

Hüttl, R. F., & Weber, E. (2001). Forest ecosystem development in post-mining landscapes: a case study of the Lusatian lignite district. Naturwissenschaften, 88(8), 322-329.

Grünewald, U. (2001). Water resources management in river catchments influenced by lignite mining. Ecological engineering, 17(2), 143-152.

Krümmelbein, J., Bens, O., Raab, T., & Anne Naeth, M. (2012). A history of lignite coal mining and reclamation practices in Lusatia, eastern Germany. Canadian Journal of Soil Science, 92(1), 53-66.

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Meta information

Contributor:Gabriel Weber
Last update11/09/2014