Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Missed Deadlines, Dissed Lobstermen, a Dead Factory

Please Forward to the Correct Address ... Judy Benson of the New London Day is still reading the public record and turning up good Broadwater stories (and teaching the other reporters covering the issue how it's done, assuming they're paying attention). Here, she writes that even though Connecticut is all in a huff about the liquefied natural gas plant that TransCanada and Shell want to build in the middle of Long Island Sound, state officials still managed to miss the deadline for the first round of comments and, as if that’s not embarassing enough, sent the comments to the wrong agency.

Yesterday she reported that Broadwater says its plant will force five lobstermen out of the area:

“Fish landings and lobster yields may decline in the short term ... and a small number of fishermen may temporarily experience lower incomes,” the report says, adding that Broadwater will compensate for lost income and gear.

Hritcko said the key reason Broadwater will have minimal impact on fishing and lobstering in the Sound is that the terminal will be located in deep water, away from the more productive coastal regions, and that construction would take place in the winter.

Nicholas Crismale of Guilford, president of the Connecticut Lobstermen's Association, said he will be directly affected by Broadwater. About one-quarter of the 2,000 lobster traps he places in the Sound are located in the area designated for the terminal.

“There are no new locations,” he said. “I've been fishing that area for 30 years. We have an agreement set up where people are established in certain areas.”

In the eastern end of the Sound, commercial fishermen and lobstermen are most concerned about maintaining access to The Race if the project is allowed, said Arthur Medeiros, president of the Southern New England Fishermen's and Lobstermen's Association, based in Stonington.

LNG tankers entering the Sound's eastern end would have a safety and security zone around them that will be set by the Coast Guard, but is likely to be a half-mile on either side, two miles ahead and one mile astern.

Lobsterman Michael Grimshaw, who operates three vessels that catch lobsters mainly in The Race, said he fears it would be impossible to fish whenever a tanker is scheduled to traverse The Sound. The two hours between high tide and low tide each day is virtually the only time when it's practical for he and his crew to set traps and collect their catch. If they are forced out of the area by an entering barge, the interruption could spoil their entire workday, he said.

To Broadwater, this disruption of a way of life is no more than a nuisance. As John Hritcko, the Broadwater suit who never misses an opportunity to minimize something important, said: “This is just a traffic management issue.”

And over on Long Island, Newsday finally got around to writing the story that Benson beat them on the other day (click here to read it, and you’ll see that Adrienne Esposito dropped the story in their lap):

Another Dead Factory ... In case anybody thought Connecticut was still a viable manufacturing state, the plant that makes Winchester rifles in New Haven is shutting down. During World War II it employed 19,000 people; now, 186.

It was Eli Whitney who figured out how to mass produce rifles (in 1798, if this source is to be believed), which established the gun-making industry in New Haven. Colt was in Hartford and Remington in Bridgeport (they may still have remnant operations there, for all I know). They made Winchester rifles at the New Haven plant that is closing. The Winchester, as today's news accounts point out, is known as “the gun that won the West.” None of the newspapers mention however that the phrase is a euphemism for the gun that helped with the genocidal extermination of the Indians and the slaughter of the bison.


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