Well, we thought we had another fortnight's grace before serious clearing got going in Leard State Forest for the Maules Creek coal mine, but yesterday, the machines moved in and started their unholy work.
Frontline Action on Coal, as ever, were on the ball and quickly discovered the machines, and have this morning halted work with a tree sit in the threatened area. But more than ever before, now they need you to join them in the forest.
We've known this day was coming since the NSW Department of Planning and Environment gave Whitehaven Coal the go-ahead two weeks ago to undertake substantial clearing during the winter months, when mammals, reptiles and birds are far more vulnerable to death and injury.
The blockade has been going strongly now for four months. Over 150 people have been arrested holding up Whitehaven’s construction of Maules Creek, and more people continue to arrive every week to be part of this historic first ever dig in blockade of a new coal mine in Australia.
But it is now at a turning point, and needs your participation more than ever.
Please get out there as soon as you can. Details on where to go are here: http://frontlineaction.org/
If you need help or have queries, call Phil (0490 064 139) or Helen (0431 930 428)
As ever, follow today's action at #leardblockade
PS - Will you be able to come out over the long weekend? Want to come in a big group? Why not join up with the Convoy of Coal-ruption, heading out that way for the Queen's Birthday long weekend.
18 May 2014
Leard forest clearing begun for Maules Creek: protests halt work
The first major clearing of Leard State Forest for the controversial Maules Creek coal mine has been halted this morning by protestors that are suspended from the trees that are threatened with clearing.
Less than two weeks ago, the NSW Department of Planning and Environment changed the Biodiversity Management Plan for the Maules Creek project, allowing Whitehaven to begin their major clearing for the first open-cut pits in late Autumn and throughout winter, when many animals species are in hibernation, and vulnerable to injury and death from the bulldozers.
Maules Creek woman, Roselyn Druce is at the protest this morning and said, “Things are going to come to a head quickly if they keep trying to clear this forest during winter, they shouldn’t be there, and we will be doing everything in our power to stop them. The NSW Environment Minister, Rob Stokes, needs to intervene and give the wildlife of this forest a fighting chance.”
A blockade of the site has been underway for four months, and over 150 people have been arrested holding up work on the coal project because of the impact the mine will have on Leard State Forest and Aboriginal cultural heritage and the contribution the coal export industry makes to global climate change.
The company behind the mine, Whitehaven Coal, acquired the project during a merger with Nathan Tinkler’s Aston Resources in late 2011. The chairman of Whitehaven, Mark Vaile, was chair of Aston during the time when Maules Creek was first proposed and Tinkler’s companies were allegedly making improper political donations. Tinkler told the ICAC last week that it was Vaile that solicited donations from Tinkler and associates to the NSW National Party.
Ms Druce said, “We know the decision to approve this mine was wrong, but the system has failed us, and so we have had to take this extraordinary action to blockade the project and fight to save the forest.
“It has been very moving to see people come to this little community from around the country and make sacrifices to protect this area. Now that Whitehaven are seriously trying to clear the forest, I hope more people come and join the blockade. We’ve stopped them for today, but until the Environment Minister steps in to prevent this winter clearing, the protests will continue.”
Further information and comment: Ros Druce 0427 826 188
Follow the action on twitter at #leardblockade
Photos will available throughout the day here: https://www.mediafire.com/folder/pncj24l8lvv00/photo
0437 405 932