Retired couple join coal mine blockade, attach themselves together to machinery

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A 72-year-old retired civil engineer and his wife have together halted construction work on the controversial Maules Creek coal mine development this morning, in the latest in ongoing protest action stopping work at the site.

The couple, David and Pamela Rothfield, have been married for 21 years, and have locked their arms together onto a pile driver this morning, and disabling it until they are removed. They have joined the growing blockade at the Leard Forest because of the contribution coal exports from Australia make to global climate change.

Pamela Rothfield said, “Exporting coal from Australia is criminal in light of the overwhelming evidence of climate change, and it must be stopped. My husband and I are taking this action together this morning because our Governments have failed tackle our biggest contribution to climate change.”

The proposed Maules Creek mine has been approved to extract up to 13 million tonnes of coal annually, which is estimated would contribute more than 30 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gas pollution per year.

In recent research published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, it is estimated that the continued destruction of forests and the burning of fossil fuels will drive a 4 degrees Celsius temperature rise by 2100, dramatically altering weather systems around the world, including here in Australia.

David Rothfield said, “I feel a moral imperative to oppose this disgraceful development. Coal is driving climate change. I can’t watch climate change unfold, and do nothing, as the Australian Government seems prepared to.”

Leard Forest Alliance spokesperson Danielle Hellyer commented, “Along with the irreversible impacts that this mine will have on the warming of the planet, the Leard State Forest which is due for further clearing, contains the nationally listed and critically endangered Box-Gum Woodland. This type of ecosystem cannot simply be replaced, nor can the contributions this mine will have on global greenhouse gas emissions be reversed.”

UPDATE, 1PM: Pamela and David have been removed by police rescue.

PHOTOS: You can download high-res photos from here.