TRUEGAIN "secretly pumped millions of litres of toxic waste into nearby creeks or dumped it on the ground over decades" ('Clean slate', Newcastle Herald 25/11). A year ago the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) warned residents not to eat eggs, drink milk or consume meat from animals that have had access to Fishery, Wallis and Stony creeks. The report also mentions that a former company director "has side-stepped a mass clean-up ... claiming he has run out of money", and that the NSW government will end up spending $20 million of our money to clean things up.
Nobody has seen jail time for this environmental disaster. Meanwhile, in what must be one of the quickest trials ever, a climate change activist has received 12 months in jail for obstructing the Hunter's coal chain for five hours earlier this month. Similar protests are threatened with 25 years' jail. NSW Police Minister David Elliott described the act as "nothing short of economic vandalism". I wonder what he calls the $20 million clean-up bill we're all paying for Truegain?
The government gnashes its teeth over a corporate environmental disaster while the perpetrators roam free, but disrupt King Coal and you'll face the full force of laws I believe were written by rich white men for rich white men.
John Arnold, Anna Bay
Selfishness a danger to others
MY beloved father passed away in June. For years he suffered from an incurable respiratory disease and would get pneumonia from catching the mildest of infections and flu. Our family took steps to protect him by making sure we got our flu shots and not visiting him if we or members of our family were ill. We did this out of love and concern. We didn't see it as infringing our rights.
Hot head anti-vaxxers and opportunists taking to our streets, spreading their hatred and incredulous claims of violated civil rights are dangerously selfish. They ignore the rights and mutual obligations of all citizens and governments to protect all Australians without fear or favour. No one has the right to wilfully endanger another person.
Don't get vaccinated, but don't expect to be allowed to spread COVID, a lethal and debilitating disease. You would be the first to cry out if you were eating at a restaurant and the person near you revealed they were suffering from gastroenteritis.
John Stevens, Lake Haven
Build opposition, not charges
I have concerns over the strategy and tactics of Blockade Australia ('Protest in solidarity with jailed coal activist', Herald 25/11) at this time when there is in my opinion not yet a large and involved public mass movement of the thousands who support climate action.
I agree lobbying is not a solution. But counterposing, secretive small group direct actions in the relative absence of a large collective movement only isolates them.
There is a history in this city of mass actions. Getting more people involved on a large scale in the debates, discussions and decisions about what to do now after the COVID slump is the Groundhog Day task of the climate movement.
We do still have some democratic rights and need to exercise the right to publicly protest as vaccination hurdles are behind us. Previous student climate strikes and large ongoing public rallies are an example.
Now a young activist is imprisoned for 12 months and some in their small group will perhaps follow. Fossil fuel state repression of climate actions is not new. Regardless of some sympathy with Blockade Australia actions, it's isolated as a small group.
So now what? It's back to building large climate actions with clear demands that involve the millions. A bigger defence against climate action repression.
Kerry Vernon, New Lambton
Would-be leaders have to listen
OVER the last few weeks individuals standing for election to our local council have been busy telling us what they are going to do for us, should they be successful in being voted in. I think it is about time that they should be looking at what we want. In my opinion, the record of the Labor-led council has been dismal, so I think now is the time to hold them accountable.
The letters to the editor have shown time and time again that we want more transparency of council spending, particularly regarding Supercars and the move to Stewart Avenue.
Derek Thompson, Newcastle West
Pipeline's impact overstated
REGARDING Thursday's story ("Pipeline's destructive path", Herald 25/11) a major flaw in Lock the Gate's consultant's report is the grossly overestimated pipeline impact. While the approval is for a 200-metre corridor, the actual impacts will be a construction corridor of 30 metres. This affects the calculation of disturbances underpinning the entire report, effectively overstating it by a factor of seven. For example, Gunnedah Shire Council area: the report indicates approximately 1705ha used by the consultants in their calculation of impacts whereas the actual corridor is approximately 250ha.
Reducing the impact focuses on a hierarchy of controls with avoidance of the impact having the highest priority with post construction offsets having the lowest.
The exhaustive environmental assessment and the subsequent submissions report restates the project's commitments and demonstrates the depth of assessment that has been done. The Environmental Assessment and approval documentation can be found here: http://mpweb.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/major-projects/project/25046
Subsequent environmental surveys were completed during 2020 and 2021 to close out the gaps in the earlier study. We are acutely aware of the sensitivities to koala habitat. Our project is being designed with the utmost care and responsibility to all of the lands and habitats the project passes through.
This project will bring critically needed domestic gas to NSW. We must work together to make this happen. We continue to liaise with landholders, local and state government agencies as we move towards geotechnical survey work in 2022. Call 1300 427 546 for further information.
Garbis Simonian, Hunter Gas Pipeline managing director
Government backing wrong bill
YOU know what the federal government's priorities are when they shelved a federal integrity commission bill and made a Religious Discrimination Bill a priority. The voters of this country are crying out for a commission to weed out corrupt politicians at a federal level and what do they get? A religious discrimination bill that no one gives a rat's about. There is a federal election on the way, let's not make the same mistake that was made three years ago.
Darryl Tuckwell, Eleebana
How many of us are sick and tired of reading headlines about councillor Allan Robinson having to withdraw derogatory comments he makes about others? In my opinion it's time this foul-mouthed councillor was ousted at the upcoming elections.
Lorraine Gillett, Fern Bay
OUTSTANDING Pope's View cartoon in Wednesday's edition (Opinion, 24/11). Good on so many levels. Can I vote for Pastor Lambie at the next election?
Wilma Budden, Belmont
PETER Sansom (Letters 25/11) hits a hole in one. A standard fast train service, to the Newcastle coast, single-stanchion CBD viaduct, the station developed into its surroundings, would have been a bottomless clean gold mine. Left to languish for decades, truncation's cutting off of a leg was easy to sell. Looks can be very deceptive.
Graeme Tychsen, Toronto
RICHIE Blanch, (Short Takes, 25/11), go forth with your trusty mask, your hand sanitiser, and social distance. Doing this should keep you COVID-free in the polling booth, shops or on the pavement.
Julie Robinson, Cardiff
I THINK Liam Phelan ('Time to speak up on how Hunter transitions to renewable energy', Opinion 23/11) missed an important fourth point. The picture in the article clearly showed it: what to do with the overburdened mountains and the enormous holes in the ground? Just pushing in the overburden would release thousands of hectares for productive use alone. This would require a levy before the general public gets the thrill of paying for it as well.
Roland Inman, Boolaroo
WITH every mouthful of jail tucker Matt Ophir, (Short Takes, 25/11), our heroic protester can be satisfied he has made a stand for our planet. Shame on Pat Conroy.
Colin Robinson, Cardiff
COLIN Rowlatt, (Short Takes, 24/11), talks of "appalling right wing influenced violence we are seeing in Victoria". What violence, what right wing influence? Or was he talking of CFMEU protests in Melbourne? Mr Rowlatt says that our prime minister is behind on issues such as climate change, vaccination policy and bushfire response. Australia has reduced emissions better than most countries despite a rapidly growing population and an economy geared towards resources and broad-acre farming. Our vaccination rate is now higher than most countries and bushfire response has been the total responsibility of the states. So, was Mr Rowlatt's complaint nothing more than appalling left-wing politics?
Peter Devey, Merewether
IN my opinion Kalyn Ponga is not a superstar; he is inconsistent and a long way behind the top fullbacks in the NRL. At the moment, overrated.
Bruce Cook, Adamstown
WHERE do you think the Newcastle Jets will finish this A-League Men's season?