December 15, 2014

Australian protesters peacefully halt first coal train from controversial Maules Creek mine

NEWCASTLE, Australia —  A peaceful blockade has halted the first test train load of coal coming from the controversial Maules Creek coal mine on its way to Newcastle’s Kooragang Island coal export terminals in the early hours of Monday morning.

A group of 22 people met the train this morning. Eight people have occupied and stopped the train and are refusing to leave.

The train was stopped during the night and delayed for over 6 hours by a protester who locked onto locomotives needed to push the coal over the Great Dividing Range. The 58 year-old protester, Bruce, from Northern Rivers, has been arrested. Speaking about why he took action, Bruce said:

“Australia’s response to climate change is headed completely backwards. If we can stop this new coal mine we set a precedent for the rest of Australia to stand up.”

Jonathan Moylan from Frontline Action on Coal said, “Over the last twelve months, hundreds of people have been arrested slowing down construction of the Maules Creek mine. The fate of our country, and people everywhere, depends on coal being left in the ground. In the absence of leadership from the industry or the government to shut down coal exports and prevent dangerous climate change, ordinary people have taken extraordinary action to stop this mine.”

“With the international climate negotiations in Lima failing to deliver the scale of action needed, people around the world will next year have to take their future into their own hands like never before. Ordinary people are stepping up to do what it takes to stop the fossil fuel industry’s dangerous expansion plans,” he added.

Reacting to this news, Bill McKibben co-founder of the global climate campaign stated: “This is another epic moment in Australia’s attempt to prove it’s on a different planet than the rest of us. On earth, nations are actually trying to figure out, however haltingly, some ways to limit carbon and move into a clean energy future, but in another galaxy down under Aussies are celebrating their latest effort to burn more black rocks. It’s fascinating!”

2014 is now expected to break the record as the hottest year on record. Heatwave conditions were observed in many parts of Australia during the hottest spring this year, and the Bureau of Meteorology is predicting a return to El Niño  conditions at a time when much of Queensland and parts of New South Wales are already drought declared.

The burning of coal exported from Australia is this country’s biggest single contribution to climate change, and production and export of coal increased in the last 12 months.


On the ground:  Jonathan Moylan: +61 (0) 431 289 766 || Vanessa Wiebford: +61 (0) 409 021 976

Off-site: Charlie Wood: +61 (0) 427 485 233


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