Thursday, August 5, 2010

Farmers and Conservationists protest coal and CSG expansion in Queensland

Farmers and conservations took to the streets of Brisbane protesting the increasing encroachment and damage to prime agricultural farm land and the environment by the rapacious coal mining and coal seam gas (CSG) industry. While the rally proceeded outside Parliament House, two activists managed to evade security and to unfurl a banner from high up on the Parliament House facade that said "Don't undermine our farms".

Hannah Elvery from Six Degrees told the rally "We want to hand our environment, our farmland intact to future generations." shortly after kids had peddled a toy tractor cavalcade with signs protesting coal mines on farming land.

Greens Senate candidate and environmental lawyer Larissa Waters told the rally that she would call for a moratorium on Coal Seam Gas (CSG) projects.

As the rally moved to the entrance of Parliament House they were stopped by a row of police. With calls for the Premier Anna Bligh to come out to meet the crowd a chant started "They come out or we go in".

The appearance of Friends of the Earth activists Bradley Smith and Dhruba Horsfal on the parliament house roof diverted the attention, and the unfurling of the banner was made to cheers from the crowd.

Bradley Smith and Dhruba Horsfal were later arrested and charged with unauthorised trespass of parliament and high-risk activities.

Interesting charges given the protesters are alledging the mining is risking prime agricultural land, the poisoning of rivers and the Great Artesian Basin, and the health of residents in rural communities.

The Six Degrees coal and climate campaign reports the Prime agricultural land protest movement strengthening. Residents at Aldershot have vowed to fight a new coal mine which residents say will threaten the water of the Mary River. Last week residents of Collinsville blockaded the train line to protest a planned increase in the number of coal trains through the town from the Bowen Basin to 50 to 70 a day.