Tuesday, June 06, 2006

A Lobstermen Who Has Leased Shellfish Beds in the Islander East Path has Raised the Question: Can You Go Shellfishing From Jail? Or is it Speculation?

The Islander East proposal to run a natural gas pipeline from Connecticut, under Long Island Sound, and to Long Island seems to have caused near chaos in Branford, where the pipeline would cut through shellfish beds.

Islander East (a Duke Energy-KeySpan project) has already paid fisherman Nick Crismale nearly $2 million and has paid two other fishermen lesser amounts.

Now a lobsterman who is in jail on a drunken driving charge has managed to secure leases on town-owned shellfish grounds that lie along the pipeline route. The town apparently didn’t realize where the beds were when it granted the leases. The speculation in Branford is that the lobsterman, Michael Torrelli, acquired the leases for speculation – that is, in hopes that Islander East would come calling and offer him a windfall.

The Hartford Courant, which is indispensable when it wants to back, has a terrific story on the situation by reporter Kim Martineau.


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