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Lock the gate extends campaign to native forests

With the campaign to stop heavy-impact mining and gas extraction on good agricultural land and underground water well under way the Lock the Gate Alliance has decided to extend its campaign to include important natural areas not currently protected from mining.

Lock the Gate Alliance president Drew Hutton said there were still many i important areas in New South Wales and Queensland that coal and coal seam gas companies were targeting and didn't hacve locl landowners to defend them.

In New South Wales these areas include the Pilliga forest threatened by coal seam gas, Leard state forest near Boggabri, threatened by open cut coal mines, the Border Ranges world heritage area threatened by a major gas pipeline and the world-heritage listed Wollemi National Park threatened by coal seam gas drilling.

In Queensland the Bimblebox nature refuge is threatened by a massive open cut coal mine and state the Yuleba state forest threatened by coal seam gas.

Mr Hutton said the starting point for this campaign will be the Pilliga forest where Eastern Star Gas is seeking approvals for 1,100 wells spread over 85,000 hectares.

The Pilliga forest is the largest continuous patch of semi-arid bushland in New South and is home to endangered species such as the Pilliga mouse, the South Eastern Long-eared bat and the Black-striped Wallaby.

"I have always said we need protection of sensitive environmental areas from coal and coal seam gas and this campaign will mobilise environmentally aware people to conduct non-violent resistance against the destruction of these precious areas," Mr Hutton said.

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