In the fifth day of escalating protest at Leard Forest in north west NSW, protestors seeking to protect the forest from being cleared for an open-cut coal mine have again blockaded the entrance to the construction site for the mine, preventing a water tanker from accessing the site.
A woman is attached to the gate that provides access to the site for water tankers carrying thousands of litres of water onto the construction site to build a road through the forest and begin work on the mine.
Susie Russell, spokesperson for the Leard Forest Alliance said,
“Construction and operation of this mine will use high security water from the Namoi River. We’ve already seen hundreds of thousands of litres of water go into this site and this morning we’ve stopped a water tanker taking precious water into the area to be used to build this mine.”
“Is it Australia’s priority to use our precious water for the death of a forest, or for the life of the land? It’s time to choose.”
Geogina Woods reports;
It's the fifth day of the escalating action at Leard forest and this morning the blockade has stopped two big water tankers and a grader from entering the construction site for the mine.
Media release is below and here: http ://www . lockthegate . org . au/leard_water_stop
We had a big first four days in the next phase of the blockade to protect Leard State Forest from coal mining. There have been five arrests so far, the latest being 64-year-old Ken Brown, from Armidale, blocking the access gate for the Maules Creek coal project. Prime TV Tamworth and a Daily Telegraph photographer were out here yesterday to capture that moment. Attempts by police and the Forestry Corporation to evict the protestors have backfired, leading to great articles in the Northern Daily Leader, Sydney Morning Herald and New Matilda .
There are so many people to acknowledge for their dedication and work on this campaign. Most particularly, the three community groups that have kept the campaign running for three years, the Maules Creek Community Council, Northern Inland Council for the Environment and Frontline Action on Coal.
Murray, Jono, the Laird brothers, Ros, Annemarie, Cliff, Phil Spark, Carmel and many others have got us to this point: the mine is not yet built, and we've got enough momentum to launch the first dig-in blockade against a coal mine in Australia (I think?). This week, many people have done incredible work, too many to name. Now we have been joined by new people. At our meeting at the main camp last night, there were people from Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Newcastle, Armidale and the North and South Coasts of NSW.
The heat has been intense, but the blockaders are keeping their good humour and pressing on. Last night, there was a brief and spectacular squall that brought some rain down, which made the land steam and lit up the sky with glowing gold columns of cloud, rainbow and rain, against the full moon.
If you’re tweeting in support of the blockade, please use the hashtag #leardblockade Thanks to the arrival of the scene of Margo Kingston, everyone is getting a crash course in tweeting, and you can get up to date news from her.
If you can make it out to help, please do. Phil Laird will be on the scene for the next few days.