Note: An earlier version of this story said Whitehaven were bulldozing 500 hectares – this should have read 500 acres.
Major tree clearing in Leard State Forest for the Maules Creek Coal mine will be interrupted by protestors for a third day today, according to the website frontlineaction.org.
But the news from the group’s broadcast SMS is rather more dire.
‘Bulldozing of 5000 acres of unique forest habitat has started,’ the call to action reads.
Earlier this morning, a 24-year-old woman was reported to be suspended from a platform that attached by cable to some of the threatened trees, preventing bulldozers for Whitehaven Coal from clearing part of the forest for an open-cut coal pit.
A management plan for the mine previously prevented clearing at this time of year, but was changed for Whitehaven by the NSW planning department just two weeks ago.
Leard Forest Alliance spokeswoman Roselyn Druce said, ‘We are here because of a comprehensive failure across government to uphold any standard of environmental protection in Leard State Forest.
‘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.’
Yesterday, the state opposition joined the NSW Greens in calling for a halt to the clearing during the cold months, to protect wildlife that are in hibernation, and cannot escape.
Environment minister Rob Stokes has yet to act on the calls.
‘Will anyone from the government ever come out here to see the result of their craven decisions to let Whitehaven Coal run amok in this forest?’ Ms Druce asked.
‘Since we put out a call to action at the beginning of this week, many more people have joined this blockade. We want the NSW government to intervene, but if they won’t, we will fight Whitehaven Coal for every inch of this forest.’