Protesters form blockade at Darling Downs coal drill site
VOCAL opponents of coal drilling on the Southern Downs have sent a clear message to coal mining companies: "we don't want you here".
Activists and residents formed a blockade, preventing machinery from leaving a Mt Marshall property yesterday morning.
Half a dozen protesters parked their cars across two driveways on a Hentschel's Rd property to stop coal drilling rigs from moving on to another site.
Among the protesters was Southern Downs Protection Group member Sarah Moles.
Ms Moles said the protest was to make a point that "98% of local residents opposed coal exploration in the area".
"We said we don't want this, we're serious," she said.
"If coal companies go ahead with plans to mine here there will be pushback from the local community."
An APEC Coal spokesman said the protesters unlawfully caused an obstruction and parked a car on a public road.
"APEC have no issues with peaceful, lawful protesting," he said.
"Everyone has the right to express their opinion."
The protesters were asked to move on by police, allowing the coal drilling machinery to move several kilometres down the road to a Mt Marshall-Clintonvale Rd property.
At one point as many as a dozen protesters gathered within metres of the drilling.
Mt Marshall resident Michelle Amos could see her home from the drilling site.
She said she didn't realise the drilling was being done so close to her home.
"I thought it was more down the Goomburra Valley," she said.
"It's always been my biggest fear that this would happen and make my property less valuable because I'm close to coal."
"Apart from the environmental concerns, this is such a fertile area for crops and livestock."
Goomburra resident Duncan Burnet said mining exploration leases covered his property.
"Someone could take out a mining lease and nearly mine my whole property," he said. "That's 20 years of my life that could go down the drain."
APEC Coal has confirmed the drilling has just over a week to go, depending on the weather.