As a local man whose family has been farming in the Maules Creek area for five generations, I can tell you I am blown away by what has happened here this week.
Recently my community and I put out a call out to people in cities and towns across the country to help us stop Whitehaven’s enormous coal mine in the Leard State Forest – a tract of critically endangered woodland named after my great-great grandfather.
Well, the people have responded.
Very early on Monday morning, as the forest birds belted their morning chorus, over 100 people from as far away as Melbourne and Brisbane, locked onto machinery and blockaded entrance gates in four locations across the mine site.
We successfully stopped construction work for the day and many stayed in place up until late on Tuesday night.
Among the crowds were farmers like me, traditional owners whose sacred sites are set to be destroyed, local people who don’t want to drink dirty water or breath coal dust and concerned citizens from all corners of the country who understand how catastrophic 30 million tonnes of new carbon pollution will be for all our futures.
The Maules Creek coal mine is twice as large as any other mine currently under construction in Australia.
If it goes ahead, the project will reduce the water table by up to six metres, pour thousands of tonnes of coal dust onto mine and neighbouring communities and destroy over one thousand hectares of precious forest – habitat for threatened koalas.
You can understand why we have taken strong action today. We’ve been fighting this mine for over three years, and have tried every legal means we have of stopping it, and protecting our forest and our water.
Whitehaven should know this is the beginning of a very long campaign. We will not give up until this mine has been stopped. We will not give up until our forest, our farms, our water and our futures are protected.
- Rick Laird
3 days of action at Leard State Forsest, watch the video: http://youtu.be/7HpHbGlf3sA
If you’d like to get involved in this campaign to save the forest and stop the mine, email: firstname.lastname@example.org