POLICE have moved-in on protestors blocking the front gate of Russell Vale Colliery this morning.
Stop Russell Vale Mine spokesperson Miranda Gibson said the COVID-safe protest was launched this morning as a direct action campaign against Wollongong Coal’s expansion.
Early this morning about a dozen protestors blocking the access to the colliery were asked by police to move from the roadway. The group have since moved to the footpath to continue their protest.
The Russell Vale Mine was recently granted approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, by Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley.
Wollongong Coal plan to extract 3.7 million tonnes of coal from under the Greater Sydney water catchment over the next five years.
Ms Gibson said this was the first approval since the “Sharma Case”, which found the federal environment minister had a duty of care to consider the wellbeing of future generations impacted by fossil fuel projects.
“Today’s protest demonstrates the outrage of Illawarra residents about the approval of this mine expansion,” Ms Gibson.
“The mine expansion would deepen coal extraction within Sydney’s water catchment, placing at risk the drinking water supply relied upon by 5 million people in NSW.”
The Stop Russell Vale Mine alliance to halt the expansion, and said the expansion is likely to contribute an additional 11 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and would be among the top 100 scope 1 emission producing projects in the country.
“This issue impacts local communities, with the mine set to add up to 34 coal trucks per hour onto our residential roads, increasing pollution and noise,” Ms Gibson said.
“Our community and water catchment will pay the price while this coal is exported for the profit of Wollongong Coal’s parent company in India, Jindal Steel and Power, who now own 98.6 per cent of the shares.
“Today’s action marks the beginning of our protest campaign to put an end to this controversial mine expansion.
“We will continue to take action until Wollongong Coal ceases it’s plans to extract further coal from our water catchment”.
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