Whitehaven Coal’s contentious winter clearing has once again been stopped today on World Environment Day, by two protesters who have attached themselves to machinery used to demolish the forest. The activists are Kwame Tsey, a 32-year-old small business owner and David Gallichan, a 43-year-old environmental scientist.
Whitehaven successfully sought an amendment to its Biodiversity Management Plan in May, which now allows the company to bulldoze forest throughout winter. Before this amendment the company was barred during this time, as many species which inhabit the forest will be in hibernation or torpor and thus vulnerable to injury or death from bulldozers.
“The winter clearing could not be a more horrible thing. It’s a time when animals are defenceless. Enough is enough. It’s time we preserve what is all of ours, instead of destroy it to line the pockets of a greedy few,” said Mr Tsey.
The winter clearing has sparked widespread outrage and drawn expressions of concern from the state government, with hundreds of people marching the streets of Sydney yesterday to condemn the destruction. The protesters have put out a call to their supporters around the country, vowing to fight the winter clearing until it’s halted. Numerous people have already poured in to join the protests, with more on the way.
There have been 171 arrests in the Leard State Forest and surrounding mines since January.
“It’s absurd that the Environment Minister hasn’t acted to stop this. Will he continue to evade duty, even on World Environment Day? It’s outrageous that everyday people have to go to these lengths to do the government’s job for them,” said Leard Forest Alliance spokesperson Helen War.
“This unrest will not cease until those bulldozers are silenced.”
For further comment:
Helen War: 0431 930 428
Leard Forest Alliance
Facebook: Front Line Action on Coal