Home is where the dirt is

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Flying back we passed over the Hunter. I knew the scars of the giant opencut mines were visible from space, and I’d seen aerial pics, but nothing prepared me for their scale and quantity in such close proximity, compared to any other manmade marks on the landscape over the whole trip from Cairns.

Chains of gaping holes and dust mountains. No wonder the air over Singleton and Muswellbrook is one of the worst concentrations of fine dust particulates in Australia, with 50,000 tonnes a year, compared to Scone, where, with no mines, it’s less than 1 tonne a year.

Mr Sartor’s approval of the 2000-hectare Anvil Hill opencut will ensure it is the absolute worst.

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The Hunter is choking on coal. That’s why the air there is brownish grey and that’s why this pollution layer marks our entry into Hunter skies.

And now he wants the Mudgee area to go the way of the Hunter. To add to the sufferings of the people near Ulan and Wollar with their existing mines, he’s approved Moolarben, insanely close to the Goulburn River: two open cuts and a long-wall, using over 6 million litres of water a day to wash the coal.

But hey, who needs water — or rivers? Or fresh air?

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