Maules Creek community worker and horse trainer Ann-Marie Rasmussen is the latest activist to participate in a tree sit in protest of Whitehaven Coal’s new mine.
Whitehaven has been attempting to clear more of the Leard State Forest over the last three weeks as it approaches finalising the construction of Maules Creek mine.
The mine is already more than 90 per cent complete, and is already exporting coal, despite ongoing direct activism at the site which has seen more than 350 people arrested in 14 months
Protestors argue that the mine should never have received approval, and claim it will cause irreversible environmental harm.
Recent protests to disrupt construction have included a 20 hour tree sit by a mother and daughter, people locking themselves to bulldozers, and activist blocking the entrance to the site which prevented workers from entering the premises.
Commenting on today’s action, Rasmussen slammed the NSW Government for approving the open-cut coal project.
“The government knows the risks that mining poses for our water, air and ecosystems, and they create laws protecting the right of the mines to do so. Yet the law of this land states that any man or woman who dares to defend their land is labelled a criminal,” She said.
Last week, NSW Minerals Council chief Stephen Galilee called on the government to implement tougher punishment for people who undertake illegal activism.
“Over the last few years we’ve seen the unprecedented mobilisation of professional anti-mining activists, who move around regional NSW like locusts, opposing mining projects and the jobs they bring,” Galilee said.
“Some of the individuals involved are repeat offenders with a history of radical anti-mining activity. These people have never seen a mine they didn't want to shut or a mining job they didn't want to cut.”
The council also wants to see the charity status for organisations like Lock the gate revoked.