Landowners and environmentalists step up fight against “underhanded” coal industry

Intro

The fight to protect Australia’s forests, farmland and rural communities from destructive coal expansion is heating up, with farmers, knitting nanas, students, cranky koalas and environmentalists stepping up efforts to block Whitehaven Coal projects in New South Wales. The $767 million Maules Creek mine in Leard State Forest – currently the largest coal mine under construction in Australia – is being blockaded, as it will require the destruction of around 1660 hectares of native woodland and sacred aboriginal sites, as well as threaten local agriculture. Whitehaven is banned from conducting winter clearing at its nearby Boggabri mine due to the threat to hibernating wildlife, but the NSW government has controversially given it permission to break the rules at Maules Creek. This decision has been met by stronger protests at the site and outside government offices in Sydney, where a Greenpeace petition signed by more than 30,000 people was presented. Worse still, Whitehaven has been caught out engaging in “underhanded” tactics, such as hiring a security company who sent spies to infiltrate the network of environmentalists and landowners opposing the Maules Creek and Boggabri mines.

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  • RT @LockTheGate: Leard Forest needs YOU to take action NOW! Show up to support  the action or call the Planning Minister Pru… http://t.co/5ZGGtdmO8t

 

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Key Points

  • A broad alliance of landowners, students and environmentalists are standing up to destructive coal mining expansion in New South Wales that threatens farming communities, sacred aboriginal sites, endangered plants and wildlife, and the global climate. To develop its controversial projects at Maules Creek and Boggabri, Whitehaven Coal is bulldozing state forest, and doing it in winter when animals are hibernating. This is normally not allowed, but the state government has controversially given the company permission on this occasion.
  • Rather than working with communities and building social license for its projects, Whitehaven Coal has instead resorted to bullying tactics. It is relying on controversial government decisions, spying tactics by hired goons, and police intervention of protests because its projects are so dirty and destructive that it cannot progress them any other way.

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Key Quotes

  • “Over 150 people have been arrested trying to stop this terrible mine in the last four months because the rules have been bent to breaking point for Whitehaven Coal and we’re fed up with it.” Leard Forest Alliance Member, Roselyn Druce.
  • “Whitehaven Coal’s bulldozers are destroying the homes of animals while they sleep. Their coal mine at Maules Creek, the largest coal mine currently under construction in Australia, has been given permission to break the most basic of mining rules – stop clearing during the winter months when many threatened species are hibernating.” Greenpeace senior climate campaigner, Nick Clyde.
  • “This peaceful, community led campaign will not be deterred by the unethical behaviour of coal corporations. We will fight inch by inch for the Leard, and today’s show of country and city unity only strengthens our resolve to continue this fight. Ministers Pru Goward and Rob Stokes have the power to stop this.” Leard Forest Alliance Spokesperson, Helen War.

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Suggested Tweets

  • RT @2squig: Community determined to stop Whitehaven #coal mine that will emit more CO2 than 140 countries! http://t.co/rOz974mshh #leardblockade #ausbiz
  • Powerful @Phil_Laird1 SMH oped “Maules Creek spies just the latest example of the #coal industry’s underhand tactics” http://bit.ly/1rM8X06