Residents in Atterwasch, Germany, are very angry about the possibility of workers digging two enormous pits, about the size of Manhattan, for brown coal by PGE SA and Vattenfall AB. The brown coal will be used to produce power for Germany. Geologists and energy experts warn that using the coal will also produce a lot of pollution in a country that is working hard to produce less pollution.
The companies hopes to mine the area so that the country is less dependent on Russian natural gas. Residents believe that the energy needs of the country are being put ahead of all other needs. The residents believe that their livelihoods are being threatened.
If the companies are allowed to continue with their plan, then the town of Atterwasch, Germany, and much of the surrounding inhabited area will not be inhabitable any longer. Residents in the small community are already suffering from huge sandstorms after recent development saw the building on a huge solar farm on the German-Polish border. Residents believe that their way of life is being destroyed and that the government is not listening to their concerns. Across the border in Poland, residents believe that the plan is also going to destroy their way of life and increase the pollution level. They also point out that the work will also increase the amount of people living in the area when they chose to live in a remote area.
Resident Rolanol Lehmann says, “It makes me furious, just furious. First, the government comes in and starts developing alternative sources of energy and now we’ve come back to brown coal. I feel very disillusioned. We simply cannot go back to old practices.” Many other residents agree with Lehmann, but feel that their way of life has already been destroyed. Land values in the area have fallen drastically since the plan was announced. Farmers do not know rather to plant a crop or not since they may not be there to harvest it.
Residents of the area have formed a group called “No, to the Pit.” They plan to form an 8 kilometer cross-border human chain on August 23. If the plan is not stopped, the companies plan on opening a 24,700 acre mine within four years.
Vattenfall AB already owns four of the dirtiest power plants in Europe. They say they need the coal to keep producing energy that the nation depends on.