Front Line Action on Coal released the statement below on September 25.
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Three men who blockaded the Boggabri open-pit coalmine in Leard Forest, NSW, on September 3 and 4 will appear before Narrabri Local Court this morning, as the Front Line Action on Coal camp marks its 50th day in Leard Forest.
One of the protesters, Russ Watts OAM, 84 years of age, was arrested after a six-hour long protest at the haul road taking coal from the pit, one day after two men scaled a coal crusher and hung a large banner reading “Stop the Coal Rush: Protect Health, Water, Climate”.
“Planning Minister Brad Hazzard has failed to protect our forests and farmlands from open- pit coal mining, and so the survival of Maules Creek and Leard Forest is now up to us,” said Jonathan Moylan, a spokesperson for Front Line Action on Coal.
“While governments pay lip service to climate action our coal exports are tripling,” said Daniel Jones, one of the defendants.
“As the coal industry marches west, I think it's good for communities to unite to protect our health, water and home,” said fellow defendant Scott Mackenzie.
Japanese miner Idemitsu and Whitehaven Coal collectively plan to slash over 5000 hectares of native forest as well as buying out productive farmlands, marking the coal industry's first major inroads into exploiting the Liverpool Plains.