Updated: August 21, 2012
Blockades and buy-outs: Kimberley campaign update
There's been lots of action in the Kimberley over the last couple of weeks, with blockades delaying the arrival of drilling equipment at James Price Point, and financial backer Chevron announcing its withdrawal from the gas hub project.
A group of approximately 50 peaceful protesters successfully delayed Woodside drilling equipment reaching James Price Point for almost two weeks, but many of these Kimberley defenders now face police charges as a result of their brave action.
So far, a total of 19 protestors have been arrested for ignoring 'move-on notices' and blocking construction vehicles. The majority of these people are ordinary locals – teachers, tradies, carers and business-owners – who have never been in trouble with the police before.
Thankfully, the arrests have not dampened the determination of the protesters, including Teegan Mossop (pictured) who was attached to a tree with cables blocking the road for more than 22 hours, and Grandmother Janet Cox, a Goolarabooloo Traditional Owner who was arrested and dragged away by police.
"Country is very important and precious to keep for my children, grandchildren and our future generations" said Ms Cox. “No Government in this world has any right to over-ride our people’s inherited sovereign rights, to destroy our culture, our songline, and the people’s choice on how to live their life – safely and in harmony. We are people with hearts, souls, and strong feelings.”
Australian company Woodside is still the largest financial backer and most enthusiastic proponent of the James Price Point project. But this week, Chevron announced the sale of its share of the venture to fellow project partner, Shell.
Financial analysts have speculated that Chevron has baulked at the challenge of building a gas hub in an area as environmentally sensitive as James Price Point, and at the difficulties imposed by the ongoing community opposition.
In light of Chevron's cold feet, it's expected that the remaining project partners – Woodside Shell, BP, BHP Billiton and Mitsui-Mitsubishi – will find themselves under increasing pressure to abandon the strongly contested gas hub proposal and opt to process the gas at existing facilities instead.
This is a huge win for grass-roots community action, and protesters on the ground should feel proud that – with support from Australians all over the country – they're having a real influence on the decisions of multi-national oil and gas companies.
Together, we really do have the power to protect this important wilderness area from waste and destruction.
For more information, please contact:
The Wilderness Society WA Inc
City West Lotteries House
2 Delhi St
West Perth, WA, 6005
Phone: 08 9420 7255