£5,500 have already been raised on tilt.com - but the website has been bought up and is being closed down :(
Three weeks, we were sentenced to pay £10,000 in compensation for shutting down Ffos-y-fran coal mine on 21 April 2017. Under the banner of Earth First! and Reclaim the Power, we disrupted the ecologically and socially disastrous mining operations of Miller Argent Ltd in the UK’s largest opencast mine.
At 5am, two of us blocked vehicle access to the mine by using D-locks and an armtube to lock onto the cattle grid at the entrance, while three of us climbed down towards the bottom of the vast hole to lock onto the 300 tonne hydraulic excavators used to extract coal.
One of us was dressed as a bright yellow canary. Historically, canaries were brought down into underground mines to act as warning signals: the death of the little bird indicated toxic levels of gas. Similarly, we wanted to highlight that coal mining is causing irreversible damage, particularly to those least responsible, especially in the global South.
Coal mining is not only a global issue. It’s also an issue of local air pollution, democracy and environmental justice. For over a decade, campaigners from Residents Against Ffos-y-fran and the United Valleys Action Group have been fighting the mine. With the mine only 37 metres from the closest homes in Merthyr, they are suffering from pollution, dust, noise and vibration every day. In March, the UN Special Rapporteur On Human Rights & Toxics called for a health inquiry into cancer and asthma rates in the neighbouring communities, criticising the lack of government response. 500 local residents have attempted to take court action against the mine, but their application was refused by the High Court as they were deemed unable to afford it.
Ffos-y-fran illustrates the failures of environmental regulation in the UK, the systematic injustices and the dominance of corporate over human interests and exemplifies how fossil fuel interests have become institutionalised as state interests, to be defended at all costs.