A court in western Germany says an ancient forest near the Belgian border can be chopped down to make way for a coal strip mine.
Cologne's administrative court ruled Friday against a legal complaint brought by the environmental group BUND that wanted to halt the clearance of much of the Hambach forest.
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The group said it would appeal the decision and seek an injunction to prevent energy company RWE from clearing the trees in the meantime.
Hambach forest has become a focus of environmental protests against the expansion of a vast mine that supplies much of the coal used in nearby power plants.
The coal, a light brown variety called lignite, is considered one of the most polluting forms of fossil fuel.