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Environmental report warns of lignite contract between government and corporations message

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BERLIN (Dow Jones) – A contract between the state and the energy companies for the closure of lignite-fired power plants could become a legal burden for later governments. The environmental lawyer Hartmut Gaßner warns against this in a report commissioned by the environmental organization ClientEarth, as the Spiegel reported and confirmed the organization. Because of the “uncertainties regarding the constitutional and contractual limits of such a contract, it is questionable whether the lignite phase-out contract actually reduces the risk of legal disputes,” says the expertise, which is to be published around 6 p.m.

The Federal Government is currently negotiating such a public law contract with the operators of lignite-fired power plants such as RWE and Leag. It is intended to regulate the amount of compensation and the schedule for the individual power plant closings. Future governments, Gassner criticizes, will be deprived of the opportunity to prefer closings for climate protection reasons. The lawyers therefore suggest regulating the exit via the ordinance route.

The government wants to pay the corporations more than four billion euros in compensation for the lignite-fired power plants. In particular, the share for the East German company Leag, which is owned by Czech investors, is criticized. Client Earth lawyer Ida Westphal describes the plans as “billions of dollars financed by tax money”. The contract is to be finalized before the Bundestag passes the coal phaseout law by 2038 before the summer break.

Contact the author: petra.sorge@wsj.com

DJG / pso / jhe

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 19, 2020 07:16 ET (11:16 GMT)

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