‘Environmental choir’ blocks Whitehaven Coal trucks

Haulage at Whitehaven Coal’s Tarrawonga mine was temporarily halted this morning after members of the Ecopella choir locked themselves to the operation’s front gates.

The protestors have since been removed by police and arrested.

The action comes after the 10-person choir sang in front of Whitehaven's Boggabri office yesterday in protest against the company’s construction of Maules Creek mine.

Director of Ecopella, Miguel Heatwole, said the group had a long history of environmental activism.

“For 16 years our choir has been raising its voice for the environment, but we feel that our voices are no longer enough and we are now backing up our songs with non-violent direct action,” Heatwol said.

“We are proud of our track record of bringing harmony to the environment and are therefore opposed to Whitehaven coal causing harm to it.”

Like others against the development of the mine, Ecopella claim the project  will lead to lasting environmental damage.

Protests in the Gunnedah Basin have been consistent since December and have seen more than 130 people have been arrested since the acts of civil disobedience begun.

However despite the persistent protests, Whitehaven Coal said there has been little disruption to its work schedule.

‘‘The real issue here is the amount of police resources that are being diverted from other community policing tasks to deal with protesters seeking to unlawfully disrupt a project that has already passed a comprehensive planning approvals process,’’ a spokesman said. 

The company has previously said it is committed tp delivering the coal project.

“Protestors should respect the fact that this is an approved project that has passed the highest contemporary environmental approvals standards."

Activists say they will remain in the area fighting the Maules Creek development until it is halted.

“Despite the police presence, we continue to see people from all walks of life, and all parts of Australia decide to come here to stand up against corporate intimidation and reckless investment,” Leard Forest Alliance Spokesperson, Dani Joy said.

“This campaign continues to demonstrate that Coal is a national issue that does not discriminate. We will continue to fight the Maules Creek Mine development, as long as the voices of concerned citizens are not heard.”

















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