A growing band of northern rivers anti-coal seam gas (CSG) campaigners will this week join a major blockade of the controversial Maules Creek coal project in northwest NSW where already several people have been arrested.
Michael and Julie McNamara, of Lock the Tweed, on Saturday head to the mine near Boggabri to join other northern rivers locals at the front line of that community’s fight against coal and CSG.
The Tweed Valley couple also plans to support the community blockade at the Pilliga Forest near Narrabri where Santos wants to develop multiple CSG wells.
Three people have been arrested during a blockade involving more than 100 people at the site of the controversial Maules Creek coal project, near Boggabri in northwest NSW.
The Maules Creek blockade, involving more than 100 people, has succeeded in stopping Whitehaven Coal’s preparatory work to clear the forest.
One of the four protest sites has been stopping trucks from leaving Whitehaven’s nearby Tarrawonga mine.
A spokesperson said many of the people participating in the blockade were doing so for the first time because they feared the devastating impacts it will have on their land, their water and their health.
Mr McNamara said it was ‘vitally important that the communities in the northwest of the state, who are bearing the brunt of the assault by this invasive industrialised activity, know that communities on the coast and elsewhere in NSW stand strongly with them’.
‘The only thing that will stop the relentless onslaught of the coal and unconventional gas companies is communities standing together,’ he said.
‘Three protectors were arrested today trying to stop Whitehaven Coal from clearfelling the Leards State Forest.
‘One of those arrested was Raymond McLaren, a 75-year-old engineer from Moonbi near Tamworth.
‘Mr McLaren has produced materials for the mining industry but he sees that the Whitehaven project at Maules Creek is just bad news for the environment and the local community.
‘As Ray McLaren can see, we must stand together or we will fall alone.
‘At a time when the price of coal has fallen to all-time lows, Whitehaven is pushing ahead with this development regardless of the environmental destruction and against community wishes.
‘In the Pilliga forest Santos is wreaking havoc on the local environment and agricultural industries.
‘Many people would see the Pilliga as unattractive scrub, yet it is one of our most productive honey-making areas.
‘It is also the main southern recharge area for the Great Artesian Basin, on which many inland communities depend for water.
‘We must stand with these communities under threat if we expect other communities to stand with us in the northern rivers against the threat from Metgasco’s plans to drill for tight sands gas at Bentley, north of Lismore, in the first half of 2014.
‘With Metgasco and Dart Energy seeking to return to the northern rivers it is critically important that we send a strong message that companies undertaking irresponsible mining activities will be opposed wherever they go,’ he said.
Mr McNamara said anyone interested in joining their campaign could call 6672 7715 or email [email protected] before Saturday.