Germany to spend up to $44 billion to cushion coal exit

Germany's Cabinet has approved a plan to spend up to 40 billion euros ($44.4 billion) by 2038 to cushion the impact on coal-mining regions of abandoning the fossil fuel

BERLIN -- Germany's Cabinet on Wednesday approved a plan to spend up to 40 billion euros ($44.4 billion) by 2038 to cushion the impact of abandoning coal on mining regions.

Germany's last deep-shaft black coal mine closed in December, but open-cast lignite, or brown coal, mines still operate. Lignite is considered even dirtier than black coal but remains relatively cheap to extract.

The opposition Greens questioned the timing, given that there is no detailed plan yet for Germany's exit from coal. The plan is expected this fall.

A small part of the money will go to areas with black coal-fired power stations.

Altmaier said the government is putting together an overall coal package "that gives the regions hope, that gives people prospects, that shows we are leaving no one on their own and that the federal government is aware of its responsibility."