Yes, they decided to keep the most important aspects of the characters' history. Also since Green lantern had just rebooted in '05 under Geoff, the new 52 "rebooted" by picking up exactly where the story had been, though like the other reboots Hal does get a few years younger.
Newsarama had already found out from more than one creator that the rich past of the DCU isn't being completely erased, and apparently, big changes are being explained in story. As Batman writer Scott Snyder told Newsarama last week: "We're very respectful of history and continuity, especially for Batman, who has some of the best moments in comics history."
DC confirmed that stories like Blackest Night, Brightest Day, Identity Crisis, Death in the Family, and Killing Joke are still part of the DCU history. In fact, editors said, some events in those stories are specifically referenced in September.
As a result, the new volume of Green Lantern continues directly from the events of War of the Green Lanterns, with Sinestro serving as a Green Lantern and Hal Jordan beginning the series powerless on Earth.