We want our rights to come before mining rights

What do we want

We want to keep our homes

We don’t want to leave our homes – and we won’t – because we love them. These villages, set to be destroyed for coal, are where we come from and where we’ll stay.

We are fighting for our homes and our villages and we’re ready to go to court to defend them.

We want climate protection – for everyone

We want action on climate change – and that means that RWE’s plans for Garzweiler II must go no further.

We find it unconscionable that evictions for coal are still happening in Germany – when climate change is threatening all of our futures. This has to stop – and North Rhine-Westphalia is just the start.

A healthy climate is in the interests of everyone; evictions for lignite aren’t. To lose your home for coal, in a time of urgent climate action, is unconstitutional and can no longer be justified.

We want an energy transition

We want a coal phase-out. The government has been promising us an energy transition for years and the coal phase-out has finally been agreed. But instead of implementing this, we’re being threatened with eviction so that our villages can be bulldozed for coal.

We want our rights to come before mining rights

We want the regional government of North Rhine-Westphalia to finally represent the interests of its citizens – not coal companies.

We are calling for Germany to stand up for basic rights. We stand at a crucial moment in history – the climate is changing, and if it’s a question of fundamental rights or climate-damaging activities, people must come first.

And for all of these reasons…

…we declared publicly in September 2019 that we stand against the expansion of the mine, and that we will not sell our land to RWE.

If they want to expand the mine regardless, as planned, they must start a legal process to win our land from us. If the competent authority in Arnsberg decides that we should be evicted from our homes by RWE, we have pledged to take legal action.

There is a piece of land that sits on the boundary between Keyenberg and the Garzweiler mine. We are using this land as an example, to ask the courts about the legal questions of expropriation.

We will not negotiate the sale of this piece of land with RWE. We have notified the company, and the Arnsberg local authority of this, in a formal communication.

Then it’s up to the court to decide whether the expropriation would be justifiable and legally permissible.

Since then, there has been a development: the German government has agreed a coal phase-out law (July 2020) that we believe goes against the German constitution.

The law contains a provision (§ 48) that will have a significant impact on people like us who live at the Garzweiler II opencast mine. The law says that expanding the Garzweiler II opencast mine is a “necessity” for energy policy and economics.

It contravenes our right to property, to human dignity and to legal protection.

We will therefore lodge a constitutional complaint against the Coal Act.

On our News page we regularly inform about the latest developments.