Willow Tree NSW, 29th March 2016:
Coal trains bound for Newcastle from Whitehaven and Idemitsu mines have again been stopped by concerned citizens in an act of peaceful protest against the continuing expansion of coal mines. Environment Officer Anisa Rogers (23), student Linah Winoto (20) and Horticulturalist Jim Kremar (33) are currently occupying a locomotive at Willow Tree in rural NSW, stopping all coal trains from reaching port and effectively shutting down the coal production line.
Front Line Action on Coal spokesperson, Jason McLean, said of the action that “civil disobedience would not stop until the Government puts the wellbeing of its citizens ahead of that of big business.”
“We call upon the NSW State Government to help communities transition to sustainable industries, as the mining boom ends and the world moves towards ensuring a safe climate future. Mike Baird’s condemnation will not stop us from standing against dodgy companies like Whitehaven. We will stand up to them from the Pit to the Port.”
Coal production continues to expand in NSW, despite global acknowledgement that fossil fuel consumption is drastically changing the world’s atmosphere and is sending greenhouse gas emissions to levels not seen before in human existence. In addition, the broadscale clearing of carbon-dense forest by Whitehaven Coal at the Maules Creek mine is driving landscape-scale loss of biodiversity and huge losses of natural carbon stores.
The Government sanctioned destruction of the Leard State Forest at Maules Creek is causing the loss of irreplaceable ecosystems that contain at least 34 threatened species, and is home to the largest remaining intact area of critically endangered Grassy White Box Woodland in NSW. Current estimates suggest that as little as 400 hectares of unmodified GWBW are left in Australia (Australian Government Department of the Environment 2016), providing critical habitat for Koalas, Tiger Quolls and nationally threatened bird species such as the Regent Honeyeater and Swift Parrot.
“The actions of protesters this afternoon have been taken to highlight that coal has no future, and ours is on the line,” continued Jason McLean.
Over 400 people have been arrested in the long running campaign against the destruction of Leard State Forest by Whitehaven Coal.
Front Line Action on Coal Spokesperson