In August 2015, EKO-UNIA met the representatives of local organizations in Saxony and Brandenburg: Umweltgruppe Cottbus, Gemeinde Schenkendoebern and Klinger Runde.
These organizations are involved in campaigns whose aims are to resist the activity and expansion of open-pit mines and power plants found in the region – Jaenschwalde (3000 MW), Schwarze Pumpe (1600 MW) and Boxberg (2500 MW).
The organizations also work with problems connected with monitoring the process of resettling people because of new open-pit mines, protecting the cultural heritage of the Sorbs, renewable sources of energy, and protecting the Spree river.
The German government wants to close part of the coal power plants by 2020, and more specifically, part of the units operating within. Among others, the 2 units of the Jaenschwalde power plant will be closed. In August 2015, NGO activists and inhabitants from various countries (who suffered due to existing open-pit mines) met in front of the Jaenschwalde plant in order to protest the mining and burning of lignite. They created a human image of a skull and smoke rising from a power plant’s chimney stacks which was visible from the sky. However, the closure of power plants in Germany is not a simple task, as the cost of such a process is very high.
In 2014, Vattenfall announced that they are selling their open-pit mines in Germany. They don’t want to invest in new ones either, as the cost of resettling people is high and the investment, therefore, unprofitable.
The representatives of local organizations believe that Germany’s future lies in conserving energy and energy distribution based on small investments.
Position on the International Coalition project “Development Yes – Opencast Mines No”:
- they are interested in collaborating; they think the coalition is a good idea;
- they wish to remain in contact and to be informed of the project’s progress;
- there is a Climate Coalition in Germany – Climate Action;
- they think that German funding bodies may be interested in the coalition;
- an important event is the Climate Summit in Paris- after it, we will see what will happen in the international arena;
- EU Water Framework Directive – it could be possible to address this directive together in the international arena.