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I wrote down a bit to counter the confusion / uncertainties / rumors about the B.U.N.D. NRW lawsuits, the clear-cutting stop and the turn of the year. I hope this is helpful for you and will give you a better starting position to get active in preserving the forest! At the bottom you’ll find a newspaper article from today’s AN.
- The highest regulatory level for the approval of lignite mines are the framework operating plans (RBP, Rahmenbetriebspläne).
The current RBP 2 will run until 2020, the 3rd RBP will regulate 2020-2030.
- One level below, there are the main operating plans (HBP, Hauptbetriebspläne). The B.U.N.D. NRW is currently suing the HBP 2015-2017 before the Higher Administrative Court in Münster (OVG, Oberverwaltungsgericht), to which also the clearing stop refers. This HBP ends on 12/31/2017, 11:59 pm.
From 01/01/2018 the HBP 2018-2020 shall apply. However, the competent district government of Arnsberg (BezR) has not yet granted an approval for it. I think that a license without informing the public is unlikely, especially since the press is asking again and again (see below). Last but not least, to ensure deadlines for legal action against the approval, the district government would have to publish this decision. The B.U.N.D. NRW will probably complain immediately against the new HBP, including the proceeding with urgent applications, etc. In principle, this would then be the same situation as now.
Then it first would be the turn of the Administrative Court (VG, Verwaltungsgericht) in Cologne again. But that the VG will decide against the higher OVG, seems unlikely (the OVG imposed a deforesting stop in the first HBP, then the VG would allow the cutting in the second HBP). Especially since there again within a few days, the OVG would be invoked. Then the case is back in Münster, just under a different name.
Without approval RWE is not allowed to cut. So: Just because the one main operating plan expires, that does not mean that RWE is allowed to cut.
These main operating plans always have a spatial component as well (like: now and then doing something here and there). However, RWE’s spatial concept is incorrect because of the clearing stop, because trees are still standing in places where they should be gone by now. It may therefore be that the HBP 18 as planned by RWE, no longer coincides with the reality, or it would omit certain areas. For the time being it is uncertain how long the district government in Arnsberg needs to approve (possibly still to be amended) the plan.
And again about the OVG Münster: As mentioned above, the actual complaint is only relevant until 12/31/17. Naturally, the BUND carefully considers all scenarios regarding a settlement. In their press release they only wrote that they welcome “suggestions” – explicitly not “settlement”. They want to put pressure on RWE / NRW to finally comment. Until 12/15/2017 the parties have time to agree (or not) to the settlement.
How a possible appeal against the decision of the OVG before the supreme administrative court BVG in Leipzig could end, I do not know. However, the OVG should first go through the oral proceedings and decide. That will probably not be until March.
Bottom line: We should / can / may be “cautiously optimistic” that may not be cleared until March (which is after the deforesting season).
So much for unraveling the current situation.“
An article on this topic in German: https://twitter.com/an_topnews/status/938762475381645313