Protester vows to stay the course

A PROTESTER conducting a tree-sit in the Leard State Forest to highlight concerns over the logging of a critically endangered tree species has vowed he will not come down until Idemitsu ceases its clearing activities.

The 23-year-old, from the Central Coast, began his vigil about 9pm on Sunday and was still in place last night, despite a Police Rescue squad being called to the scene.

Idemitsu, which had to wait three years to secure approval for an expansion that will lift production from five to seven million tonnes of coal a year, intends to clear more than 600ha of forest.

But anti-coalmine activists maintain the company’s offset strategy, designed to mitigate the expansion’s impact on the forest’s rare white box woodland, is inadequate.

“It is alarming that Idemitsu can raze critically endangered forest for an open-cut coalmine when there is no assurance that the same quality and quantity of that ecological community exists in their offsets. As the federal minister responsible for protecting endangered ecosystems, Greg Hunt must require Idemitsu to obtain an independent review of the white box woodland in their offsets before this precious forest is destroyed,” ecologist Phil Spark said.

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