Contributed by Ugly
Opponents of the Wilpingjong mine near Wollar in New South Wales, picketed the Mudgee town hall on Tuesday, where the Planning Assessment Commission was meeting to consider the mine’s application for an extension.
During a public hearing, also in Mudgee, residents, former residents and supporters, lined up to express their views through placards and submissions. They refused to participate in the formal discussion, on the grounds that the right of appeal had been removed.
A follow up protest at the mine yesterday morning resulted in three people being arrested.
One of them, Bev Smiles from the Wollar Progress Association, spoke out about the protest and her arrest.
“It was a peaceful protest outside the mine,” she said. “Bruce Hughes and Stephanie Luke were also arrested.” “There was some disruption for mine workers.”
The Wollar Progress Association and Lock the Gate action group claim – “The Wilpinjong coal mine – owned by Peabody Energy – began operations a decade ago, a few kilometres from the village of Wollar. Noise and air pollution from the mine have since driven away 90 percent of the local residents.”
“Peabody now proposes to expand the mine closer to Wollar. The NSW Planning Department has recommended the project for approval, despite admitting that it would kill off the village forever.”
Before the Planning Assessment Commission meeting in Mudgee, Bev Smiles stated, “The treatment my community has received from Peabody Coal and the NSW Government has been nothing short of disgraceful”.
While opposing the mine, protesters made it clear to those working in it that the action was not directed at them, because it was understood that that they had to make a living. Work still stopped for some time.