In Caerphilly, Wales, during August of 2015, mining company Miller Argent was rejected after proposing to open a new coal mine in light of the harmful pollution it would cause to the surrounding vicinity. On the heels of the rejected proposal, Miller Argent sought an appeal with the Welsh Government in 2016, in opposition to community members who seek to raise 40,000 pounds to provide effective representatives in the Public Inquiry to follow.
The ongoing struggle between the Miller Argent and members of the populace has the attention of a local activist organization, United Valleys Action Group (UVAG). Chris Austin, the secretary of UVAG, explained that the appeal has been hanging over the community.
“This community fought for four years to resist this proposal, which would see the company working right up to the doorsteps of the community for 15 years.”
UVAG has been involved in tactics to directly oppose mining efforts. In one example, on April 21, 2017, the group engaged in a protest which effectively shut down operations at the Ffos-y-fran opencast coal mine. According to reports, two members of the group used D-locks and an arm tube to lock onto an entranceway cattle grid (one notably wearing full yellow canary getup, a nod to the birds that miners once used to indicate the presence of toxic gases) while three other activists descended into the mine itself to lock themselves onto 300 ton hydraulic excavators used to extract coal.
Some of the funding for UVAG comes from ACT, a DAO that promotes citizen action and is gathering Ether to help fight the efforts of the coal company. ACT formed with the goal of aggregating funding from numerous citizens who want to enact beneficial change in their communities. They vote through a decentralized governance system enabled through the Ethereum blockchain, which reports to an immutable ledger.
The funding ACT offers is an important tranche to impoverished communities attempting to fight the efforts of mining outfits which are often responsible for generating dust, noise, and other pollutants that can be harmful to them. It was reported that 500 local residents were unable to take action against the mining operation after a High Court refused their application on grounds of inability to pay.
“This is an example of the problem more generally,” said Fraser Brown, who founded ACT with the belief that it can revolutionize the realm of non-government organizations.
“Communities can make a gallant effort at creating noise and even stopping developments in their tracks. But eventually corporate power and/or State power outweighs their meagre resources. No more. ACT is the World’s solution to this imbalance of power – it can amplify citizen voice and it can drive resources at any speed and any scale from a global community to ensure that schemes such as Miller Argent’s do not go ahead.”
Individuals who are interested in becoming involved with ACT may visit the website to engage with the community and follow its progress.