Remarkable news from Australia! Today Whitehaven Coal has been forced to halt clearing of the Leard State Forest – where it plans to develop its gigantic Maules Creek coal mine. Share the great news on Facebook here.
Maules Creek Community Council, represented by the Environmental Defenders Office of New South Wales (NSW), sought an interim injunction in the NSW Land and Environment Court, to immediately stop the clearing during winter when animals, including threatened species, are hibernating in the forest.
A judgment on the case was expected this afternoon, however, Whitehaven instead has given an undertaking to the Court that it will halt the clearing until a full hearing on the matter, which is expected in early September. While Whitehaven claims that they are on track with the development of the mine, the reality is they have only cleared 130 hectares – just a third of the 375 hectares they had planned to clear in the first year of their plans.
As Maules Creek Community Council spokesperson, Phil Laird, said “This outcome today sends a strong message to coal mining companies across NSW and to the NSW Government – if they will not enforce the law, then the community is prepared to step up and do it themselves”.
Whitehaven will continue with work to develop the mine in areas it has already cleared, so our battle is far from over, but this is a triumphant moment to celebrate — for now the destruction has been halted. The forest lives on, and the coal still remains in the ground.
If it wasn’t for the support and courage of thousands of Australians, hundreds of whom have travelled to the forest to put their body between Whitehaven’s machinery and the forest and climate, then Whitehaven would have already decimated the Leard State Forest. This support and action has given us and the local community hope that we can stop this destruction for good.
We’ll call for support again soon, but for now, join us in celebrating and sharing the news on Facebook, email or just yell it out on the streets!