23 November, 2016

Coal mine approvals rigged... a fed up community not unlike Capertee Valley.. call for support

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Bev Smiles - 350.org Australia <350@350.org>
Date: Mon, Nov 21, 2016 at 3:03 PM
Subject: Coal mine approvals rigged

I'm Bev Smiles, I have lived in the Wollar community for most of my life. It has been a great place to grow food, raise a family and work in a close knit community. We have had Peabody Energy mining coal in our neighbourhood for 10 years. They keep expanding their mine and pushing our friends out. This time they want to mine within 1.5km of Wollar village and we've had enough.
The NSW Government is holding yet another "public consultation" for this big coal mine, but this time, the community has had enough and we're boycotting it. This public hearing, on Peabody’s proposed Wilpinjong coal mine expansion, will decide the fate of the Hunter Valley village of Wollar and whether millions more tonnes of carbon are unleashed on the climate.
At the hearing, a Planning Assessment Commission Panel will hear from stakeholders who are for and against the project with the task of then making a recommendation from a social, environmental and economic perspective on if and how the project should progress, but we've been to these “public hearing” events before and every time, we speak and nobody listens. The facts do not count. The decision does not change. Even when the Commission makes good recommendations, they get ignored. The worst thing is – it takes away our legal right to raise our objections in a court of law, where facts do count.
So instead of participating in this dodgy approvals sham, the Wollar community is calling out for people to join protests against the coal mine in Sydney and in Mudgee. Will you join us?
Approval of the Wilpinjong coal mine expansion will be the death of the Upper Hunter community of Wollar. Coal mining has already destroyed the social fabric of Wollar. Once a bustling farming town in the Hunter Valley -- the community have now lost both their churches, their mechanic and their fire brigade -- as families have been forced to sell up and leave the area to protect their health. Peabody already own 70% of land in the area and now want to expand even further.
So instead of sitting through another ‘community consultation’ with a foregone conclusion in favour of the miners, the Wollar community is asking for your support to Boycott the hearing. Join us in Mudgee or in Sydney:
When: 9.30am on Tuesday 29 November
Where: Mudgee - Town Hall Theatre, 64 Market Street (3 ½ hours drive from Sydney); or
Sydney - 52 Martin Place
RSVP: Here
While the Planning Assessment Commission is holding its ridiculous circus inside Mudgee Town Hall, we're going to be protesting out the front. We need to show Planning Minister Rob Stokes that we will not participate in a meaningless stunt that serves only to take away our legal rights. We actually want to stop the Wilpinjong coal mine expansion.
If you can make it to Mudgee:
Come to Wollar the night before (Monday 28th) to meet the community and share a BBQ dinner. Free camping with toilet and shower facilities will be provided.
In the morning you will join a convoy from Wollar to Mudgee for the protest (about 40 min drive).
If you can, stick around and join local activist and ground-water specialist Julie Imrie for a 1 hr walking tour of the The Drip on your way home: The Drip and Corner Gorges of the Goulburn River form part of an ancient, visually dramatic landscape. This will be followed by a BBQ lunch.
If you'll be in Sydney:
Head down to Martin Place from 9.30 - 10.30am to support the community of Wollar and say NO to the Wilpinjong coal mine expansion. RSVP here
Science tells us that to avoid the worst effects of climate change 80% of fossil fuels need to stay in the ground. Yet the NSW Government continues to use inadequate planning and approval processes to give the green light to coal mining disasters like the Wilpinjong mine expansion.
Please join us to stand with the community of Wollar against this coal mine as the Planning Assessment Commission begins its hearing.
For a future for Wollar,
Bev Smiles, Wollar resident
P.S While we are boycotting this public hearing circus we do still want the NSW Planning Assessment Commission to get plenty of public submissions against this project. Follow this simple guide to lodge your submission by 5pm on the 5th of December.

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