German Minister for the Environment Criticises Plans to Exploit Lignite Mine in Lützerath
German Minister for the Environment, Robert Habeck, has expressed his criticism against the government’s plans to increase the exploitation of a lignite mine in an open-pit in the west German town of Lützerath.
This comes ahead of the eviction of the town to make way for the lignite mine, which is currently being met by activists who have entrenched themselves in underground tunnels.
In an interview with “Spiegel”, Habeck stated that “there are many good reasons to demonstrate in favor of greater climate protection, for me even against the Greens. But Lützerath is simply the wrong symbol.”
Habeck defended the agreement between the federal government, the state of North Rhine-Westfalia and the energy company RWE to bring forward the abandonment of coal in the Rhineland mining basin by eight years up until 2030. He remarked that this agreement brings to the public something that the climate movement has been working towards, which is “planning security.”
However, the agreement also results in the continuation of RWE’s coal plants even if it is something the Minister is not proud of, “It’s inevitable because (Russian President Vladimir) Putin has started a war against Ukraine and we are facing an energy crisis,” he added.
Moreover, Habeck pointed out that the agreement has resulted in half of the amount of coal authorized for extraction in open-cast mining has been halved. He also said that the situation in Lützerath and the proposed eviction of the town “do not represent a symbol of continuity for open pit mining, but “the end of it”.
The head of the Aachen police, Dirk Weinsprach, declared that the situation is not without danger, since the stability of the structure and the quality of the air in the tunnels are unknown.