Urgent action: stop the winter massacre at Leard State Forest!

Dear all,

We have an urgent action we need you to demand that Environment Minister Rob Stokes stands up for the animals of Leard Forest and doesn’t weaken conditions imposed on the Maules Creek mine project for their protection.

Whitehaven Coal has approval to clear thousands of hectares of the Leard State Forest for their Maules Creek coal mine in North West NSW, including habitat for dozens of threatened species.Whitehaven Winter Clearing Campaign.jpg

  • The approval was subject to “strict conditions” to ameliorate the impact of this loss of so much bushland, including the need for a Biodiversity Management Plan to minimise the impact on wildlife clearing takes place for the mine.
  • The current Biodiversity Management Plan includes a commitment by Whitehaven that clearing will only take place in late summer and early autumn in order to avoid key breeding and hibernation seasons for threatened birds, mammals and reptiles.
  • Many animal species, including threatened bats, gliders and reptiles, go into a kind of hibernation during winter. If clearing occurs in winter, they are at the mercy of the bulldozers and cannot escape. Even if they survive the clearing, with their habitat gone, they are at the mercy of predators. It would be a massacre.
  • For this reason, all of the mines in the area have conditions to not clear the bush during this period: but last week, we got word that the NSW Department of Environment and Heritage is secretlu negotiating to change this condition for Maules Creek, and allow clearing of large areas of Leard State Forest over this winter.

The Maules Creek Community Council wrote to the Environment and Planning Ministers asking them to intervene to protect the animals of Leard State Forest, but we think the changes will be granted to accommodate Whitehaven’s desire to keep destroying the forest to meet their coal production timeline.

Can you call Environment Minister Rob Stokes today and ask him to call off the bulldozers and protect the wildlife of Leard forest over the winter?

His electorate office number is (02) 9999 3599

His Ministerial office number is (02) 9228 5253

If you want to email him about your concerns, contact him here: office@stokes.minister.nsw.gov.au

The animals will be subjected to terrible cruelty if they’re allowed to go ahead, and all because a coal company can’t respect the rules and wait for three months.

More detail

  • Clearing the forest in winter will result in the displacement, injury or death of over seventy species of hibernating reptiles and frogs, bats and small marsupials that are sheltering in the hollow trees and logs to be cleared. Those few that do escape the dozers will be likely be taken by predators.
  • The Biodiversity management Plan can be changed at the stroke of a pen – the Minister must insist that bureaucrats in the Department of Environment and Planning stand up for the wildlife and prevent clearing taking place over winter.
  • This changing of the rules just goes to show how serious the government and Whitehaven are about protecting the threatened species. Here are some species that will be affected: Pale-headed Snake, Little Pied bat, Corben’s Long-eared bat, Yellow-bellied Sheathtail bat, and Squirrel Glider, and Barking Owls which begin to nest in winter. All will be subjected to displacement, injury, or death.
  • All the other mining projects in the area have conditions that prevent them clearing in winter to protect the wildlife, without that winter protection the animals don’t stand a chance.

Please call him now, and share this message, to get the word out.