OFFSTAGE: Keith Urban’s $20 Coal Protest

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

“No Coal or Coal Seam Gas.” That’s what the sign says on the gates outside Keith Urban’s 1878 two-story Georgian mansion in Australia’s Sutton Forest. (The sign was $20. The home was $6.5 million. Just FYI.) And here’s what it all means: Urban and his wife Nicole Kidman are just like their roughly 400 neighbors who have joined together to protest plans to expand coal and gas mining operations in their ’hood. They are not necessarily against coal mining altogether. Just coal mining near homes because of the impact of those mining activities. The group behind the protest, the Southern Highlands Coal Action Group, is convinced all that coal work will negatively impact their lifestyles — and their property value — and will even contaminate underground water reserves. Urban and Kidman bought their sign last month at the Moss Vale Farmers Market, and now it’s the first thing you’d see if you drove up to their 111 acres of land known as Bunya Hill. If I owned that much coveted land in Sutton Forest, I’d be protesting right along with them.