George Monbiot savages ‘Big Coal’s Big Scam’: its unfunded restoration liabilities

In his regular Guardian column on 28th April, 2015 George Monbiot unleashed a withering critique of the scandal of opencast coal’s unfunded restoration liabilities, which LAON has been writing and campaigning about for the last 2 years. And George cited LAON’s calculation that these amounted to nearly half a billion pounds – £469m.

He looked in detail at the situation at East Pit and Margham in South Wales, and in Ayreshire, and then concluded:

”Nationwide, the unfunded liabilities counted so far amount to £469m. That’s likely to be just the beginning. This is a price we pay for limited liability. Why should the people who own and run these companies be allowed to walk away with millions, while shrugging off the costs they leave behind? Limited liability is one of our social silences: a giant gift to corporations that we won’t even discuss.

And why are we digging coal anyway, when we cannot afford to burn it? Climate breakdown is the greatest unfunded liability of all, for which future generations will have to pay. Yet in 2013, the latest year for which figures are available, the amount of coal for which companies in Britain have permission to dig rose from 12m tonnes to 24m. Eight new opencast pits were approved in that year, and only three rejected. In which parallel universe is this compatible with the commitment to limit climate change?”watch Fifty Shades Darker 2017 film now

You can read about LAON’s contribution to George Monbiot’s investigations here. George’s 2007 article about the Ffos-y-fran mine at Merthyr Tydfil is here.