Not a field of cows to be moved around

SDC10077Las Cruces is one of many villages in a contested landscape shaped, most recently, by mining. A culture of capitalist accumulation tries to move in while the coal moves out. I saw this in 2009. Five years later, i saw a culture of commoning stoically sticking its dancing heels in.

Drummond, originally a coal mining company from the Appalachians Alabama, USA are now the fourth largest coal exporter globally. They  finance, manage and profit from El Descanso and La Loma opencast mine, twenty minute drive north from Las Cruces. In 2012 they exported 25 million tonnes of coal, 70% is this to Europe.
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Dancing and Coal Mining

Land in which to dance, grow and live

Conflicts with Coal

coal train

If you follow the coal leaving your region, Cesar, it first heads north on the train to Santa Marta on the Atlantic coast of Colombia. It gets loaded on to ships and exported. Some of it eventually arrives in a place called Avonmouth, at the port of Bristol. It gets loaded back on to trains, and these trains pass through my neighbourhood, just 200m from my house, on route to a power station called Didcot. We are not such strangers. The impact of the mines on your communities is part of our story too. People in the UK want to learn from you.”

“The whole valley flows, take one piece out of it and it is broken.”

wagonwayThe final week of the Bradley opencast saw a damning presentation from a local farmer, which disarmed the coal company. The ecologists view of the site was countered by excellent knowledge of local residents who know the site. The bitter disagreement about whether there are bell pits on the site continued and the transport expert tried to tell us that more HGVs on the road would not be a problem. Their planning expert said that footfalls on the footpaths were not high, whilst the locals countered that it’s tranquillity is the attraction and that 5 people a day is important.
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Fight for the Kites. Bradley Inquiry Continues

kite

This week saw many more powerful contributions from the local community. On the evening session more than 55 residents and concerned parties came to watch and support PVN. Presentations were of high quality and too numerous to be listed.

Dr. Harbinson explained the damage which would be done to the vulnerable, re-introduced, red kite population. Red kites are seen foraging on the site on an almost daily basis. The kites were introduced in 2004 as part of a national reintroduction program, and sadly this area has been the least successful area. ‘Crucially there is a failure of the birds to extend their range beyond the core area of the Derwent Valley.’ This emphasises the necessity to make no changes which could adversely affect the birds.

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Indonesian Activist Joins dirty Coal Tour

dteWe are pleased to announce that The Dirty Coal Tour will be joined by Pius Ginting from Friends of the Earth Indonesia. BHP Billiton, a company listed on the London Stock Exchange are plan to cause devastation in Indonesia, in addition to the countries they are already exploiting. Thanks to down to Earth and War on want for making his trip possible.

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