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March 1, 2021

EPA ‘oversees’ logging

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Update 5.30pm: Loggers are preparing to remove the first tranche of timber from a private property on Whian Whian Road under police protection after a group of forest protectors failed in their attempt earlier today to turn back the logging trucks.

Members of the Crescent Moon Protection Group sat around a broken-down van over a causeway on the narrow road for several hours this morning, holding back the logging trucks but finally abandoned their vigil owing to a local emergency.

Group spokesperson Patrick Tatam told Echonetdaily this evening that the group fears the police could become aggressive in the face of the concerted opposition of local people to the logging in an area containing a number of endangered species.

Yesterday the group said the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) had broken an agreement to consult with them and its staff spent today  overseeing loggers push a new road through an area of endangered species at Whian Whian.

One local told Echonetdaily he goes to work each day fearing for the safety of his wife, who is at the logging site to protest ‘the illegal operation’.

For two weeks, members of the Crescent Moon Protection Group have been conducting an action at a private property on Whian Whian Road, whose owners have an agreement with the Forestry Corporation of NSW to fell trees from an area adjacent to Nightcap National Park.

The group, together with members of the North East Forest Alliance, have identified numerous threatened species in the area and called on the EPA to protect it.

Crescent Moon spokesperson Sue James said she turned up on site yesterday (Tuesday) expecting a meeting with the EPA as agreed.

‘To my horror it was apparent that the whole vibe had changed,’ Ms James said.

‘I was told [on Tuesday] that four alternative tracks were being assessed and I would be told of the results.

‘[But] they had already decided yesterday morning that they were going to put the track through high-density koala habitat area that is also thought to contain threatened plants as well, no matter what.’

Ms James said that as she was talking to an EPA staff member, ‘I was horrified to see two large machines coming towards me. I insisted this operation was stopped as unlawful.’

When the EPA officer refused to stop the operation Ms James said she walked under the barrier and told him ‘that myself, police offices and other members of the public were now in danger and that a limb had already hit the roof of a police car parked nearby’.

‘Trees were being bulldozed right next to me.

‘I asked the police to stop this. They would not do so and let this dangerous, unlawful operation continue. It was a terrifying experience that made me realise they will stop at nothing to log this area.’

 


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3 COMMENTS

  1. Can I please have the address of the logging area or James’ email so we can come up to help. I was in Whian Whian in 1997 to stop state forest logging the area, it sounds like we have to do it again. It is overwhelming to see so much abusive behaviour towards our environment, specially coming from government agencies that are aerial spraying our coast with pesticide and logging our biological reserves. What is next? regards Nadia

  2. If the EPA has broken their promise what hope does our environment and endangered Flora and Fauna have- it seems the loggers are a law unto their selves the government and councils do not seem to care what happens I hope the next generation looks after the planet if there is anything left.

  3. Nadia,

    Here’s about the best that I can do to identify the area. Its in the ridge area to the north/north-west of: “If you’ve got a set of Topographical maps, you can find us on the Huonbrook Topographic map (9540-1N, if purchased from Land & Property Information NSW), in the square bounded by 34 – 35 latitude and 30 -31 longitude, in the centre of a horizontal line drawn one quarter of the way up the said square. The house (tiny black solid square) in the centre of the small rectangular course traced by Branch Creek there is in fact the next door property at 711-725 Whian Whian Road, Whian Whian, 2480. Alternatively, that house property is directly opposite the dirt track marked on the right, leading to an old property called “Hereilinga” on the map.

    It’s going to get a bit rough, we fancy, tomorrow, since it appears that the loggers are attempting to drag down the 100 to 150 logs already felled, trimmed and de-barked, to an area around 150 metres from the laneway entering Whian Whian Road from the owner’s property. They will then bring in trucks to ship them out, under the protection of the police, the Forestry Commission and apparently, the EPA. The owner will score some $70,000 to $100,000 for his efforts, and the Forestry Commission will be on their way to fulfilling their lumber supply contractual obligations to presumably off-shore multi-national buyers. The loggers were again trapped within the property by a blockade of locals inter alia this evening (seven or so loggers utes), and have been allowed to depart some 40 minutes ago (7.30PM tonight).

    I’ve atached a copy of an e-mail sent by myself late today to the local ABC as well as The Echo. We’re tired, but still cohesively united and unbowed. Any assistance from concerned locals would be greatly appreciated: just drive to the end of Whian Whian Road!!. Feel free to distribute this via FaceBook, which I don’t really know how to use. Patrick Tatam ….-mail follows: Elloise, Bruce,

    A few photos of the actual logging site, some of the entrance way to the logging site’s owner’s property where the main blockade is set up, two shots of trees (a solitary Red Cedar and twin Flooded Gums) that may already have been felled. There are at least 7 Red Cedars on the property, each apparently worth MANY thousands of dollars as lumber.

    The trucks used to carry out the felled trees (there are over 100 Blackbutts inter alia already down and stacked at the logging site) will carry up to ten, which will gross in excess of 4,000 tonnes, and that will tear up the local gravel road irreparably, and probably fracture or demolish the two lightweight creek crossing culverts, as well as the crossover above two large concrete pipes just outside our place at 711 Whian Whian Road, Whian Whian. The removal of the trees will also create a massive silting up of Branch Creek, which is our (and our neighbours’) ONLY water supply.

    I was almost struck by the second of two Police rescue vans as I stood one metre out from my fence post dividing the entrance of my place and the logging owner’s place approximately one hour ago. I am a JP, and am quite prepared to draft a Statutory Declaration to this effect. The expression on the police driver’s face was, to put it bluntly, quite frightening. You are free to quote me on this.

    There is an over-arching purpose behind the shenanighans being carried out, and that is TO FACILITATE UNRESTRICTED LOGGING ON PRIVATE LAND.

    We are confronted by a coalition comprising the State & Federal coalition governments, the Forestry Commission, the EPA and the state Police.

    To whom can we turn, I might very realistically ask of the public at large.

    Cheers

    Patrick Tatam

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