Deforesting work in Hambach Forest temporarily stopped!

Press release of the Higher Administrative Court

The Higher Administrative Court has provisionally obliged the state of North Rhine-Westphalia with an interlocutory decision to ensure that RWE Power AG refrains from further clearing and deforestation measures in Hambacher Forst from 6 pm on November 28th, 2017.
Der sogenannte Hängebeschluss ist eine vorübergehende Regelung und gilt bis zu einer Entscheidung des Oberverwaltungsgerichts im anhängigen Eilbeschwerdeverfahren. Der BUND NRW e.V. hatte beim Verwaltungsgericht Köln mit einem Eilantrag zu verhindern versucht, dass RWE vor rechtskräftigem Abschluss des Klageverfahrens vom Hauptbetriebsplan 2015-2017 des Braunkohletagebaus Hambach Gebrauch machen kann. Gegen den insoweit ablehnenden Beschluss des Verwaltungsgerichts vom 25. Oktober 2017 hatte der BUND Beschwerde eingelegt und im Rahmen dieses Beschwerdeverfahrens am 24. November 2017 eine Zwischenentscheidung bis zum Beschluss über die Beschwerde beantragt. Diese hat das Oberverwaltungsgericht nun erlassen. Zur Begründung hat der 11. Senat ausgeführt: Die Zwischenentscheidung sei zur Gewährleistung effektiven Rechtsschutzes angesichts der Komplexität des Sachverhalt und der sich stellenden Rechtsfragen sowie zur Vermeidung irreversibler Zustände erforderlich.

In der Hauptsache hat das Verwaltungsgericht Köln am 24. November 2017 die Klage abgewiesen. Ein Rechtsmittel gegen dieses Urteil liegt dem Oberverwaltungsgericht noch nicht vor.

Solidarity Action Map


@SupportHambinow and @HambiBleibt

We are writing you to ask you to support the Hambach Forest against the
imminent threat of eviction of the protest camp & rasing of the last
trees. The German coal-company RWE (europe’s largest emitter of CO2) is
cutting down this precious and protected forest to mine more coal,
already blowing billions of tons of climate-destroying CO2 to the
atmosphere every year, further speeding up global warming. In the
Hambacher forest, a protest camp has existied in the last 5 years,
bulding more than 20 treehouses. It has become a unique symbol of
resistance agains cliamte destruction, corporate power and political
ignorance, drawing attantion to Germany’s dirty secret (coal mining). To
make way for the mine, RWE Security forces, backed by the state police,
will soon try to evict the whole camp to make way for the destrictive
coal mine. They might start as early as tomorrow, the 27th November with
tree-cutting & evicting. If we are strong, if we stand united, we can
stop them.

Let’s stand with the Hambacher Forst! Support Hambi Now! Continue
reading below to see what you can do to support Hambacher Forest.

Information on Hambacher Forst and the protest camp

We are a group of Hambach forest supporters trying to bring more
attention to the situation and to mobilize popular support for Hambi. We
started a map-tool were people can show their support & get organized &
share their support-events with others:

We want to ask you to support the protest camp in various ways, if you
want posting on this map:

share informations, pictures & videos of the protest camp, the eviction
(could start tomorrow, November 27th).

put a solidarity message on the map! —>

organize an Information event, maybe showing one of the many (fantastic)
Films on Hambacher Forest —>

Take a solidarity picture or other symbolic action (e.g. sybolic tree
occupation) —→ share online or send us the foto/video

organize with your friends, form a travel group and travel to the
Hambacher Forst (near Cologne). —> use map tool & find infos on

Contact & Directions

If you are a friend of social media, use hastags such as #hambibleibt
#SupportHambi #HambacherForst #endcoal #keepitintheground
#hereandnofurther #RWE und #endegelände for your solidarity-messages
and/or to express your feeleing (disbelieve? rage?) about the hambi
situation. Follow @hambibleibt @supporthambinow.

Thank you so much for your Solidarity!
Let’s stand toether! Wherever you are, stand with Hambi!
#supporthambinow #HambiBleibt #HereAndNoFurther

NON-Deforesting Season 2017, Live Ticker

Today RWE was facing a deadline on accepting the BUND’s offer to stop cutting the Millenarian Hambacher Forest.
Day before this deadline, yesterday they agreed not to cut the forest during the 2017-2018 cutting season. It has been received with relief and sense of celebration to realize that this winter the forest will not be full of cops while trees fall and die all around. This is combined with full knowledge that it does not mean a stop to large scale repressive actions directed at the climate-justice movement in Germany, Rhineland and Hambacher Forest. It also does not mean moving away from climate destroying coal and lignite in NRW or in other countries with more coal power plants coming online around the world. Continuation of this destructive process seems to also be on RWE’s agenda since by not letting the case go to arbitration next week and having an expert decide on the matter of whether the forest deserves a status of protected natural habitat they left the option open to resume cutting the next year and to legitimize tree-house evictions even more. Protected under Natura2000 status could have also ironically have been used to call for and realize forest eviction. Either way the risk of evictions has not decreased especially since RWE aligned newspapers and journalists are publishing a frenzy of fear mongering articles and commentaries about to the forest and the cops continue to attempt to decrease the surprising strength and unity of the movement by putting forth “no win” ultimatums. So keep your support structures and attention active and visit us in the forest for Sunday radical breakfast and walk at 11:00 the supporter celebration party on “Secu” Road or just drop by anytime especially around holidays to enjoy food, music and the forest with the Eco Theorists, Theorizing and putting into practice a reality of another World being possible for the last 5 years. Big thank You to all that have been on the front line or supported them during that time.

How you can support us:

We ask the press people to call us, before you come and visit us.
Most up-to-date on top

12/14 According to this article by the regional channel WDR the logging can be continued at the earliest from October 2018. For the time being, RWE has not received a clear-cutting permit from the state of NRW. Reason to celebrate!

>12/14 Deforestation stopped until 12/31/2017: Press release OVG (Higher Administrative Court) in German
Statement B.U.N.D. in German

12/13 NRW share in the week until December 14, 2017. On the 13th at 13:13 the course starts to fall. Are the stockbrokers superstitious or did they know that the stock can no longer be held after the settlement has been accepted (by B.U.N.D., see below, then by RWE, see above)?

BUND accepts the settlement (see December 1) on the condition that the expert to be appointed is truly independent. According to the proposal for a settlement, the defendant (North Rhine-Westphalia) should have an expert report clarify whether the forest, with regard to the Bechstein’s bat, fulfills the criteria for an FFH area. (area under special European protection)
The parties have until 15.12.2017 to agree (or not) to the settlement.
See also the legal info on the complaint of BUND more…

Start of deforesting and evictions

According to police, RWE will start on monday clearing work in the Hambach forest. We hope and know that as many people as possible will be in the Hambach forest from Monday morning 3:00 clock to defend it.

Correction: it started already Saturday, Nov. 25th. See

We assume that this year they intend do a complete eviction (all tree houses + meadow occupation).
Because it is impossible to enforce this year’s clearing without evicting tree houses, we are prepared for it. We’ll prevent the deforesting! Here are some suggestions:
The last clearing season has shown that 2-3 weeks are enough to destroy about 70 hectares of forest. If you have the opportunity to come over for the next few weeks, then do so! You are needed here more than ever. Here on the spot we need people who occupy the clearing area as extensively as possible. Temporary tree occupations with mobile platforms are prepared and we will provide you with all the material and equipment you need. But also people who can help providing the tree houses, help with press and public relations work and provide emotional support are incredibly important. Since it may be that especially weekdays police in the forest is present, you can call before to ask if it is possible to come into the forest without being checked by police. Every Sunday at 9:00 clock begins an action and climbing introduction. Meeting point is the round house in the meadow.
If it is not possible for you to come for a week or more, you’ve got still the opportunity to be here for one action. For example, you could use an affinity group to prepare a blockade on the access roads (see action map) by which the clearance vehicles come.
Right now it is important to stay up to date and to make known what is happening here as widely as possible.

Things that happened before…

During the last weeks, the topic lignite-based power generation and climate change has been a national and international issue. Here in the forest grew the popularity and support for the forest occupation. More and more people are choosing to become more active and move in here. External support is also steadily increasing. People bring food, materials and water, enabling the growing number of activists to be here permanently.
The RWE-group, which emits 223836 tons of CO₂ every day, is severely disturbed by the actions of (small) groups in its work.
Various (blockade) actions resulted in empirical values about their effectiveness.

1. Water Pumps
RWE operates over 2,000 pumps in the Rhenish mining district to reduce the groundwater level. It is known that from the side of the Hambach Forest, RWE has got problems with water ingresses in the open pit. This stems in part from the fact that in the forest itself no pumping stations could be built (is possibly changing at the moment). They characterize the landscapes around the open pit, on fields, in forests, along the roadsides. They are usually recognizable by pipes and power distribution boxes.

2. Access Roads
In order to clear the forest, clearing machines enter the forest by certain access roads during the deforesting weeks. In the last couple of years, they had to be rerouted often, because at the same time people had breakfast on the roads, which was even approved by the police.

3. Mine – Excavators and Conveyor Belts
During the last years several excavators were occupied. In some cases hat took several days, because the police did not have enough climbing units available. It has been shown that a permanent blockade of the open pit is necessary to stop the coal supply to the power plants.

4. Lignite bunker in the mine
From there, the power plants are supplied with coal. The extracted coal from the opencast mine is initially stored in the bunker and then delivered to the power plants via the Hambach Railway. Without the supply by the coal bunker in the open pit, a performance reduction can be achieved within a few hours!

5. Hambach Railway
The Hambach Railway is the largest private railway in Germany. If the coal can be loaded from the coal bunker, this so called Hambachbahn runs every 10 minutes 24/7, 365 days a year to the power plants.
The Hambach Railway is powered from two points, both of which are near the coal bunkers.
The power plants Niederaußen and Frimmersdorf are supplied with coal from two sides (Hambach and Garzweiler)!

During the last years there have been different types of actions.

  • Tripod on the tracks
  • Lock-Ons
  • Sit ins
  • Hambach Railway Party
  • and more…

By means of a 24-hour blockade in phases, a throttling of the power plant was achieved, which was even reflected in the balance sheet of the Group.

6. Lignite bunker in the power plant
As was shown some days ago, such a blockade is very effective (Weisweiler – throttling around 92 percent!)

7. Power supply
The RWE structures mentioned in points 1-6 are all powered by electricity.

8. Access roads that are relevant in case of evictions
The Hambach Railway was moved to the south to make room for the opencast mine. Since then, the number of access roads to the forest has decreased. With vehicles in large numbers it is easily accessible only a few points.
Note: The other mines and power plants in the entire Rhenish lignite mining area work in a very similar way …
Note 2: Not listed separately is the RWE headquarters in Essen and all other office buildings all over Germany, which ensure the constant profit maximization of the group …

Pre-alarm: RWE prepares for action

From some observations in the last 24 hours, we conclude that RWE is preparing for a major police operation. Opinions differ as to whether they plan to create facts before the verdict is pronounced, but it is certain that they want to be ready to start swiftly after the verdict is pronounced. We expect Monday, but Saturday would be possible too. In the past every day including Sunday was cleared, so a start on Saturday would be imaginable.

Get ready to join us. As soon as we know more, we’ll let you know.
And come on Friday at 10 clock to the Verwaltungsgericht (Administrative Court) in Cologne (Appellhofplatz) to accompany the verdict!
Open Street Map

Court Proposes Settlement

Live ticker in German

For the entire text (in German) quoted below, go to

Open cast mine Hambach: in-court settlement failed

Settlement on the open cast mine Hambach failed
RWE rejects proposal
Court decision until Friday

In the trial about the lignite mine Hambach on Tuesday (Nov. 21th,2017) a settlement failed. The Verwaltungsgericht (Administrative Court) of Cologne had proposed to continue the open pit without felling the forest. The judges expected a coal exit in the foreseeable future.

RWE and a representative of the Land North Rhine-Westphalia stated that this would not be feasible. The BUND as plaintiff, however, supported the settlement. Another proposal by the court, to postpone the extraction limits of the opencast mine and to save the forest from digging, was rejected. By contrast, the BUND (Federation of Environment and Nature Conservation Germany) as a plaintiff could imagine a settlement in which the old Hambach Forest would be left out. Until Friday (24.11.2017) there will now be a judgment.

Protests outside the courthouse

On Tuesday morning, about 100 opponents and supporters of the opencast mine demonstrated before the start of the trial in front of the Cologne administrative court. Several environmental groups had announced protests for the preservation of the Hambach forest.

Between 2020 and 2030 almost all trees are to be cut, in order to advance the open-pit mine as planned shortly before the village of Buir. “Then we’ll look directly into a 440 meter deep hole, where almost the entire city of Cologne fits in and that is so unimaginable crazy, well that’s just terrible,” a 50-year-old man says. With his citizens’ group “Buirers for Buir”, Andreas Büttgen supports two new claims of the BUND. He wants to save the Hambach Forest and thus stop the open pit.

Judgment on Friday 11/24 at 10 o’clock, Verwaltungsgericht Köln.
Open Street Map

What to do on Day X? Or how we prevent eviction and deforesting together

The mood is tense. If RWE wants to enforce the planned clearing, they would have to destroy most tree houses. At the same time we are more than ever, louder than ever and more diverse than ever. This is our chance to prevent the clear-cutting, and thus set a clear sign against lignite mining and exploitation and for climate justice and non-hierarchical resistance. We have to be many for that!
To be informed in case of eviction register on our SMS alert list
and stay up to date by means of the blog. But what to do when the SMS arrives? This text helps to prepare you for eviction in the Hambach Forest, so that we can prevent it together!
For almost all options, it is helpful to have an affinity group. It would be ideal if you organize yourself in your city with people to support the forest occupation together. There are already many groups working on climate justice, such as the local groups of Ende Gelände.

Various police operations can occur in the Hambach Forest: