Thursday, February 17, 2005

Sphere Hiatus

We’ll be taking a short hiatus, coinciding with winter break in the local schools.

Check back in late February, keep up with the blogs on the lower right, or read my other site for longer things I’ve written (modern architecture, Swiss goat cheese, pound net fishing on the Sound, Burgundy, and the diamond district are the topics).

And by all means, read this, if you haven't already.

If things happen that I should know about, drop me an e-mail. And thanks for reading Sphere.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Funding to be Cut for Treatment Plant Upgrades

Missing thus far from the discussion of Bush budget cuts and their affect on Long Island Sound is the proposal to cut funding for clean water projects. Specifically, the administration wants to cut the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) program from $1.09 billion to $730 million, a reduction of $360 million.

The CWSRF has been the source of much (but certainly not all) of the money for the nitrogen removal projects that treatment plants along the Sound are now engaged in the Long Island Sound Study has plenty of information here). Federal budget cuts are likely to mean that Connecticut and New York will have to foot more of the bill.

LI Sound Funding: Little to Worry About?

I understand that last week's news (scroll down) about the Bush administration's proposal to cut the Long Island Sound Study's budget to $700,000 (down from about $6 million) caused almost no consternation within the Sound office itself. Christopher Shays's office and Dave Miller at Audubon New York had it right, not surprisingly, when they said the executive budget always lowballs the Sound program and that funding has always been restored by Congress (albeit after the requisite intense lobbying).

There is one caveat, however. Congressman Steve Israel was quoted in Newsday as saying, "I think it's going to be hard to increase the amount of money because the debt is so large. There is so much competition for the crumbs that are left."

I'm told that some in EPA found that to be alarming because of Israel's position as co-chair of the House Long Island Sound caucus.

Let's hope he's just lowering expectations so it will appear to be more of a triumph when funding is restored.

Mating Season for Red-Shouldered Hawks

The call of the red-shouldered hawk is loud, insistent, and wild. On our hilltop, it's one of the most dramatic signs that spring is on its way. We heard it this morning for the first time this year.

The Risky Strategy of Emphasizing the Safety Risks of Broadwater

Here's a strategy for stopping Broadwater that I'm willing to bet will continue to get headlines but will ultimately fail: decrying it as a huge safety risk.

From this Newsday story, it sounds as if much of yesterday's hearing in Albany on the Broadwater proposal was spent doing just that: worrying that the proposed LNG terminal, which would be built in the middle of Long Island Sound, nine miles from the closest onshore building, would be an unacceptable risk.

At the hearing, a State Senator from Long Island asked, "Are we building a bomb in the middle of Long Island Sound?" and Kyle Rabin, of Friends of the Bay, suggested that the terminal would be a target for terrorists.

I'm skeptical because I think it will be easy enough for Broadwater and the energy industry to convince the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that the terminal wouldn't be that dangerous. That, after all, is what the Sandia study says, and whether anyone on Long Island blieves it or not, the feds are going to believe it. Common sense indicates that an explosion nine miles from anyone is not as big a deal as an explosion near a residential area. And as for terrorists, there would seem to be other targets that might be more attractive that an LNG terminal in the middle of the Sound.

I don't want the Broadwater terminal to be built. The waters of Long Island Sound are publicly-owned. The Sound is only now recovering from 200 years of industrialization and over-development, and the last thing we should be doing is turning the middle of the Sound into an industrial site.

But Broadwater is not the Shoreham nuclear plant and it's not Indian Point (Kyle Rabin, remember, joined Friends of the Bay after working on Riverkeeper's incendiary anti-Indian Point program), and to suggest that it is might be self-defeating.

Newsday, by the way, has gathered past stories into a special online section about Broadwater.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Offshore LNG Terminal Proposed for Massachusetts

While Broadwater is looking for permission to put a liquefied natural gas terminal in the middle of Long Island Sound, another offshore LNG terminal is being proposed for the Boston area. The New London Day has a story.

Greenwich Deer Hunt to Take Place Before End of March

The state of Connecticut has approved Greenwich's deer hunt, and town officials have notified residents that the hunt will take place before the end of March on three town properties: the Pomerance-Montgomery Pinetum Park, Babcock Preserve and Griffith E. Harris Golf Course.

The Greenwich Time reports: "Greenwich ... must first inform neighbors whose properties abut the parcels and provide details about the program, including where and what times the sharpshooting will occur. The town also expects to update its Web site with more information about the program, officials said."

Monday, February 14, 2005

Endangered Species Recovery: "There's No Money for It"

I’m not going to claim to have done massive research on the Endangered Species Act, but what I do know, combined with my instincts as a reporter, lead me to label as specious the argument that the ESA has been a failure because fewer than 20 threatened or endangered plants or animals have recovered sufficiently to be removed from the list.

Josh Rosenau at Thoughts from Kansas and Jon Christensen at The Uneasy Chair have been blogging about the Endangered Species Act. For the past six or eight months I’ve been doing some preliminary research for a book about bog turtles (Glyptemis muhlenbergii), a federally threatened species that lives in 12 eastern States. I’m interested in bog turtles because they have specific habitat requirements; their presence is an indicator of high-quality habitat and, conversely, their absence is an indicator of poor land use practices; until very recently bog turtles lived in the marshes of a narrow stream corridor within walking distance of my house; and I happen to know two of the best bog turtle biologists in North America.

The northern population of the bog turtle was listed as federally threatened in 1997 and several years after that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released its formal bog turtle recovery plan. Last summer I read the listing documents and the recovery plan (click here and scroll up for a pdf of the recovery plan), and made an appointment to interview the scientist who wrote the latter (I don’t know if it’s true of all species, but in this case the Fish and Wildlife Service contracted out to an expert, who devised the plan in consultation with government biologists).

The plan includes a detailed list of tasks to help the bog turtle recover. These include using existing land use and development regulations to protect turtles; protecting turtle habitat through purchase, long-term stewardship agreements and voluntary partnerships with landowners; regular population surveys and monitoring; genetic research; a reintroduction program where appropriate; and better law enforcement to reduce poaching, among other steps.

Geographically, the plan breaks the bog turtle’s range into recovery units, and sets goals for each unit. And the plan ends with a detailed implementation schedule.

The scientist who wrote the plan is very smart. He’s an accomplished scientist who has thoroughly studied the connection between development and biodiversity; and he’s passionate about his work and about the reptiles and amphibians that he studies.

So I asked him if he could give me a couple of examples of where the recovery plan has been at least moderately successful. He looked at me as if I had asked him for a recipe for turtle soup.

“Nobody’s doing it,” he said. “There’s no money for it.”

And that was that. The federal government had gone to the trouble of listing the bog turtle as a threatened species, and this first-rate conservation biologist had written a recovery plan that in all respects seemed excellent. And yet as of now, it will have no effect on whether bog turtles recover or continue to fade slowly toward extinction.

Does that mean the Endangered Species Act is a failure? Not to me. All it means is that the ESA is not enough of a priority to be allocated the money it needs to determine if it is a success or a failure.

A Comment on Broadwater

From the perspective of an inland user of Long Island Sound, a weekly called the Town Times, which covers Durham, Middlefield, and Rockfall, Connecticut, has weighed in on the Broadwater LNG proposal.

"We urge our readers to consider what camping at Hamonassett or sailing in the Sound might be like should this come to pass."

Bureaucratic and Jargon-filled Review of Broadwater Proposal Begins, I Think

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has yet to start its review of Broadwater's proposal for a LNG terminal in Long Island Sound, but it has issued its Notice of Pre-filing Process Review. If you're not an expert in the arcane world of government regulations and jargon, you should go to the Anti-Broadwater site, where Keith E. Romaine, president of the Moriches Bay Civic Association, has posted information and links.

He says the notice is important and that "it outlines the process that FERC requires and provides contact information for making public comment. Also, it contains the FERC environmental review process flowchart."

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Anti-Broadwater: Long Islanders Don't Lose Environmental Fights

"Long Island environmental and civic groups have an unequaled track record. We don't lose these fights."

So says Richard Amper, executive director of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society, talking about the Anti-Broadwater Coalition and the proposal for a liquefied natural gas terminal in the middle of Long Island Sound.

He was quoted in a Newsday backgrounder.

Also, "On Tuesday, the Broadwater proposal is scheduled to undergo its first government-convened public hearing in Albany, as four state legislative committees -- the energy and environmental conservation committees of the Assembly and Senate -- convene a rare joint session to scrutinize the plan."

Friday, February 11, 2005

The First Shad, and a Hudson River Recipe

Can it be shad season already? Certainly not in the Connecticut River or the Hudson, but somewhere, apparently, because my wife came home with shad roe for dinner a couple of days ago.

It may be that the roe in the markets now is from the so-called intercept fishery -- boats that catch shad in the ocean, intercepting them before they head upstream to spawn. The rivermen hated this (I say "hated" because, in the Hudson at least, there are so few rivermen left that the present tense doesn't apply). They thought the fish should be allowed to head upriver, where fishermen were required to lift their nets for a certain period every week to allow a sufficient number to spawn. When John Cronin was the Hudson Riverkeeper, he argued that the intercept fishery was destroying the traditional fishery and was potentially a threat to the shad themselves because it was preventing them from spawning. The ocean fishermen, not surprisingly, scoffed and said the rivermen were acting like the fish were theirs.

I wrote about the intercept fishery back in '92 or '93, I think, and ever since then early-season shad have posed a small ethical dilemma for me, one not quite as serious as Chilean sea bass dilemma but a problem nevertheless. Do I want to support a fishing activity that, in the case of shad, is potentially jeopardizing the species or, in the case of Chilean sea bass, is definitely jeopardizing the species?

The answer, of course, is no. But since there's no way to tell if the shad is from the ocean or from a southern river where spawning has already started, I tend to err on the side of gustatory satisfaction.

Speaking of which, the recipe we use (and I use the word "we" loosely -- I do none of the cooking) comes from Jim Carey, one of the last shad fishermen in Verplanck, New York, on the Hudson (again, this was in '92 or '93; I'm not even sure if Carey is still alive). After I finished interviewing him about the state of the shad fishery, I asked him how he cooks the roe. Simple, he said. Put it in a frying pan with oil and butter, on a low flame; cover it, because the individual eggs tend to pop sometimes and fly out of the pan; cook it for eight to 10 minutes on one side, flip it, and cook it for five or so minutes on the other; make sure it doesn't stick.

Gina, Sphere's executive chef, has modified that recipe, although the basics remain the same. She leaves out the butter and uses olive oil.* She coats the roe in flour before cooking it. Before putting the roe in the pan, she sautes shallots in olive oil until they're translucent, and then removes them from the pan. She then cooks the roe for five or six minutes on a side (8 to 10 minutes makes it more leathery than we like). When the roe is done, she puts the shallots back in the pan with some white white, deglazes the pan, and uses that as a sauce for the roe.

* 2/14 Update: After she read this, she broke the news to me: She does use butter, as well as olive oil. Thus does reality intrude on my fantasy of a low-fat diet.

LI Sound Funding: Miller Echoes Shays Aide -- We've Gotten the Money Before, We Can Do it Again

Roll up your sleeves and prepare to convince the Long Island Sound Congressional delegation that the Sound program needs to be fully funded, says David Miller, of Audubon New York, echoing Paul Pimentel, in an e-mail to the Long Island Sound Watershed Alliance:

“… since I have been one of the folks lobbying and working with your office every year for the past decade and more to put back funding, I know it can be done. In fact, the pre-2000 days we were increasing it from $477,000 to $2 million for the Office through the legislative process. After the Restoration Act passed in 2000, we were able to get funding as high as $7 million and last year it leveled out at about $6.3 million. Again, none of these achievements were done with help from the executive budget. It was our great Congressional Delegation and all of us working together that made the difference. Audubon and other groups are committed to make this happen again. So, for LISWA members, roll up your sleeves and get those letters going in support of Long Island Sound Funding at least $7 million this year. Our goal is to have it fully funded at $40 million some day as well as having the Long Island Sound Stewardship Act enacted into law.”

LI Sound Funding: Shays Aide Says Don't Panic, We'll Fight to Get it Back

Paul M. Pimentel, Representative Chris Shays's District Director, implies that this year's budget proposal for EPA's Long Island Sound program is typical rather than a reason to panic. In an e-mail last night to the Long Island Sound Watershed Alliance, he said:

The LIS funding level is certainly cause for action, but the "slashed by 93 percent" [reported by Newsday] statistic is more sensational than accurate. They are comparing last year's Congressionally-enacted funding level to this year's Administration proposal. For the last 16 fiscal years, the vast majority of funding for the EPA Long Island Sound Office has been added by Congress; historically, little has been requested by the President. The sad fact is to my knowledge no Clinton or Bush budget ever proposed more than $750,000 for the EPA Long Island Sound office, the rest was added in the legislative process.

The bottom line is that Connecticut and New York's Senators and Representatives will fight for increased appropriations, and they will continue to do so as a unified, bipartisan, bi-state team.

Shays, a Republican who is not exactly beloved by the right-wing leadership in Congress, is more optimistic than Steve Israel, a Long Island Democrat, who told Newsday he didn't think anything could be done about the funding.

Greenwich Deer Hunt to Start Soon

From the Greenwich Time

Greenwich could start killing deer as early as next week, officials said yesterday.

State officials yesterday faxed a letter authorizing the town to be the first municipality in the state to kill as many deer as hired sharpshooters can lure to three town-owned properties between now and the end of March....

DeNicola has said he expects to kill up to 70 deer from all three town properties.

Scroll down for more background.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Budget Cuts Will Hurt the Sound and No One's Paying Attention

Two days after what could be the biggest Long Island Sound story in a long time, and still not a peep from any newspaper except Newsday, as far I can tell.

February 9, 2005
WASHINGTON -- Funding to study, clean up and prevent pollution in Long Island Sound would be slashed by nearly 93 percent under the spending plan President George W. Bush submitted to Congress on Monday, a move that would have not only environmental but economic impact to the region, analysts say.

Fewer Deer, Same Damage

A new aerial survey and the discovery of a miscalculation has prompted state officials in Connecticut to lower the estimate of deer per square mile in Greenwich, where the town has asked for state permission to conduct a deer hunt to reduce the herd. The Greenwich Time reports that officials now believe there are 68 deer per square mile in the so-called backcountry (that is, where the rich people with the big estates live, as opposed to the southern part of town, where the rich people with houses on the Sound live), rather than 120 per square mile.

To some Greenwich officials, the lower number calls into question the need for the hunt. But for me, it means something else: that 68 deer per square mile, rather than 120, can destroy the understory of a forest; and that the town will now have to shoot far fewer deer to get down to their desired number per square mile.

Previous posts on the deer issue (in reverse chronological order) are here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

The Iraq War's Cost to Long Island Sound

Bush’s proposed federal budget will cut funding for EPA’s Long Island Sound office from about $6 million or $7 million a year to $477,000. The one member of Congress quoted by Newsday – Steve Israel, a Democrat from Huntington – doesn’t think anything can be done about it because of the deficit, which of course is caused by the vast cost of the Iraq war.

Newsday doesn’t mention that the federal revolving fund for sewage plant improvements will also be cut. I have a couple of inquiries out to determine how much of New York’s and Connecticut’s Sound nitrogen removal program relies on the revolving fund. More when I know more.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Anti-Broadwater Coalition

"Do we want to turn Long Island Sound into an industrial site?"

That's the question I've been posing here for two months, it's the question at the top of the new Anti-Broadwater Coalition website, and it's the question people should continue to ask (The answer, of course, is no -- the publicly-owned waters of the Sound should not become an industrial site.)

Here's an excerpt from the site:

... as most people know, the Sound is one of the most beautiful and significant bodies of water in the United States. In 1987, after Congress allocated funds for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to research, monitor, and assess the water quality of the Sound, it became an Estuary of National Significance. It contains thousands of species of wildlife, and is a vital part of our nation’s environment. And, it provides employment and recreational opportunities for hundreds of thousands of people throughout our region.

Over the past ten years, the federal government, and the states of Connecticut and New York, have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to restore and protect the water quality of this national treasure. ...

The proposal for a natural gas storage facility in the middle of Long Island Sound is not environmentally sustainable. A sustainable project would have to incorporate both an aggressive energy efficiency and conservation effort. And I don’t think increasing our reliance on foreign energy sources is a better idea than developing a regional comprehensive energy plan.

However, after clicking around the site, I was left wanting to know a few things. First and foremost, who is the Anti-Broadwater Coalition? What people and organizations are involved? The paragraph I quoted above is written in the first person, but there's no indication of who that person is. The only name I could find on the website is Adrienne Esposito, of Citizens Campaign for the Environment; the only e-mail address is

On the positive side, there are some links -- including to Broadwater and the Sandia report (but, like Broadwater itself, not to Sphere, which is an affront to my importance and influence). There is also a useful information page.

As I've said here before, I think it's a bad idea to put an industrial facility in the publicly-owned waters of Long Island Sound. But I've also always felt a revulsion when environmentalists paint doomsday scenarios where none exist. I'll be checking out the Anti-Broadwater site in the coming weeks, and pointing out the good arguments and the inflated rhetoric.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Two Men's Meat

The great Roger Angell writing about his step-father, the great E.B. White.

Modern House Tour

In 1940 the Museum of Modern Art published a little spiral-bound book called “Guide to Modern Architecture, Northeast States.” Organized by state, it is not much more than a 101-page annotated list of notable structures: airports, bridges, industrial buildings, schools – it even includes a swimming pool. And of course there are houses, including this one, on page 85:

House for Mrs. Bertram F. Willcox, Trinity Pass Rd. Moore & Hutchins, architects, 1939, $9,000. Permission by letter to architects, 11 E 44 St., NYC.

I don’t know anything about Hutchins – not even his first name. Moore was John C.B. Moore, an architect who collaborated on the Design for Living Home at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933 and the Home Building Center at the New York World’s Fair, in ‘39. The firm went on to design high schools, libraries and college buildings in the post-WW II years.

Bertram F. Willcox was a lawyer who practiced in the city and taught at Cornell (as far as I can tell, the “Mrs.” in the MOMA book is a typo). He and Moore were friends and Moore designed a weekend place for himself next to the Willcox house.

The house itself is still standing and being put to good use. We live in it.


Moore & Hutchins are hardly in the pantheon of modern architects and, despite its inclusion in the MoMA guide, our house is not on the list of the modern shrines that attract visitors, either invited or those who, like myself sometimes, peek over stone walls and drive up private driveways. Phillip Johnson's Glass House and Boissonas House, and houses by Marcel Breuer, Elliot Noyes, John Johansen, and Edward Larrabee Barnes are all within a five-minute drive of ours and attract far more attention.

So when David Diao, an artist friend who is also an aficionado of modern architecture and its accoutrements, told us he wanted to visit and bring along Christian Bjone, the author of First House, a book about the early works of modern architects such as Philip Johnson, I.M. Pei and others, we were flattered.

We had first encountered David a year and a half ago on a tour of modern houses in Rye; Christian, coincidentally, was the tour guide for one of those houses (designed by Ulrich Franzen) and gave a lecture as part of the proceedings. Then when the New Canaan Historical Society held its modern house tour in October of last year, we met David again and struck up a friendship.

Logo for the Modern House Day Tour and Symposium in New Canaan, CT
Gina Federico Graphic Design

Yesterday they drove over from New Canaan, where they had been visiting the widow of one of the architects who made that town a center of modernism.

We sometimes feel a bit sheepish about our house because, even though we renovated it in 1999-2000, it hasn’t been painted in five years and there are a three or four places were the paint is starting to peel, and the flag stones on the front walk are cracking and heaving with the continual freeze and thaw of winter. But both our visitors seemed delighted to see the house and neither was in the least concerned with what to us stand out as glaring flaws.

Christian had done his homework. I shook his hand when he got out of David’s car and after he introduced himself, he asked me if I knew that our house was in the MoMA guide. I told him that in fact we owned a copy.

They plunged right in, and reminded me of bird-watchers I’ve been in the field with, who survey a marsh with a single-minded determination not to waste time or miss anything. They looked at the house closely, remarking on details that we take for granted – the second-floor deck, the structure’s somewhat ship-like appearance, the great stone chimney.

Christian asked me, “Has your house been published?” Back in the early 1940s, Better Homes and Gardens published a book with photos and illustrations of houses built for less than $10,000, and our house was included, I told him. But it hasn’t gotten much attention in the recent revival of interest in modern architecture.

“Who was the architect?” he asked. I told him as much as I knew about Moore & Hutchins.

Around back he noted the dining-area windows – four double-hung windows abutting each other – and remarked that it was characteristic of European houses to have double-hung windows bunched like that. He said that the juxtaposition of horizontal clapboard and vertical clapboard reminded him of Walter Gropius’s house in Lincoln, Massachusetts, and when we told him we still have some renovations planned, he implored us not to change that.

The design of modern houses really didn’t reach its peak until a decade or more after our house was built – John Johansen, one of the architects who, along with Johnson, Breuer, Noyes and Landes Gores, made New Canaan a center of modernism, called it “high modern” at New Canaan’s Modern House Day symposium in October – and Christian said that in the early days of modernism, architects would try different styles and techniques, and if clients did not materialize to patronize them they would become evolutionary dead ends. That might explain why Moore & Hutchins seems to have given up designing houses in favor of institutional buildings.

When we were finished at our place, we took them down the road to my mother-in-law’s, which is a modern house built in 1950, and then to an Edward Larrabee Barnes house nearby. They happily slogged through the wet, melting snow in their sneakers (Christian) and street shoes (David) to note building techniques and materials and design symmetries, with my wife (who has known all three houses since she was born) leading the way.

By 4:45 they were heading off for the Merritt Parkway, and we were as delighted to have shown them around as they seemed to be to take the tour. We had the feeling that the ghosts of Moore, Hutchins and Willcox (both Mr. and Mrs.) would have been pleased.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Death of Environmentalism; Limitations of Blogging; Implications for the Sound

A paper called "The Death of Environmentalism" received some attention on the enviro blogs not long ago. I stayed out of it because, given the realities of life, I was unlikely to read a 12,000-word thesis, and because none of the blogs that talked about it presented a good enough summary for me to feel like I knew what the paper was about.

The Times has a story about it today, and provides some much-needed context. Bloggers like to complain about the limitations of newspapers, but this story points up the limitations of blogging -- too many blogs present information in takes that are too short to give a new reader any idea of what you're talking about. I include myself and Sphere in this criticism: anyone coming here and reading a recent post about Broadwater, for example, would have to do a fair amount of clicking around to figure out what my arch, wise-ass remarks mean; too much of it is inside talk for insiders.

As for the "Death of Environmentalism," I still have no particular opinion, except that I've remarked in the past that the constituency for Long Island Sound consists largely of people who came to the issue in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and have grow well into or beyond middle age.

I know Terry Backer and Dave Miller and Nancy Seligson are still very much involved in the Sound, but they've been at it for 15 or 20 years. Are their replacements waiting in the wings?

Friday, February 04, 2005


A fan of Sphere suggested that I link to this site, I’ve clicked around on it a couple of times today and it’s interesting, although I’ve yet to find the one page or paragraph or even sentence that summarizes what exactly it is. Nevertheless, it’s eye-catching and flashy in an “I’m-about-to-get-a-slight-headache” kind of way.

Whatever Greenburbs is, it seems to be concerned with the environment (although I couldn’t find a mention of the Sound or anything that had to do with the natural world); it seems to be the work of someone named Remy Chevalier (who seems to have been associated with Wetlands, the defunct New York nightclub); and it seems to have some connection to the Green Party (which was responsible for Bush being elected in 2000, so thanks for nothing).

However M. Chevalier has an idea for a member-supported environmental library (he’s calling it ELF) to be located probably in South Norwalk that is either completely unrealistic or a great idea, I can’t decide which. But if he can come up with the funding, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

The site also has lists of green businesses and environmental groups that are worth knowing about (including a link to, which is an organization that I hadn’t heard of).

Friends of Greenburbs meets every Monday night at 9, at the Tiki Moon Lounge in SoNo, which probably indicates either that the group is of a generation younger than I or that M. Chevalier found himself another to run nightclub after Wetlands.

Sphere has a policy of being inclusive even of people with flashy websites, so check out Greenburbs.

LNG Risk Report

I’ve been remiss in not linking to this report on the dangers of importing LNG via ship. It was produced by Sandia National Laboratories for the Department of Energy. As far as I can tell the only inherent bias is that it assumes that there will be a continuing demand for LNG imports.

It concludes, among many other things, that the risks of and from an intentional spill – that is, terrorism – are far greater than the risks of and from an accidental spill. It also concludes that any damage from a spill will be confined to a relatively small area -- certainly not anything like the nine or 10 miles that Broadwater's proposed terminal would be from any structures on Long Island or in Connecticut.

Here are two conclusions from the executive summary:

11. The most significant impacts to public safety and property exist within approximately 500 m of a spill, due to thermal hazards from fires, with lower public health and safety impacts at distances beyond approximately 1600 m.

12. Large, unignited LNG vapor releases are unlikely. If they do not ignite, vapor clouds could spread over distances greater than 1600 m from a spill. For nominal accidental spills, the resulting hazard ranges could extend up to 1700 m. For a nominal intentional spill, the hazard range could extend to 2500 m. The actual hazard distances will depend on breach and spill size, site-specific conditions, and environmental conditions.

Which doesn't mean there aren't other good reasons to oppose putting an LNG terminal in the middle of Long Island Sound. Scroll through the archives here to see my thoughts on that.

Broadwater links to the Sanda report from their website.

Which reminds me, there’s a link on Sphere’s sidebar to Broadwater’s site. Isn’t it time for Broadwater to link to Sphere?

Not Just Broadwater

In other energy controversies, Transenergie US Ltd. met a Monday deadline for burying the Cross Sound cable. Connecticut regulators will now review it. The New Haven Register has an AP story.

Little Museums

The Heckscher Museum, in Huntington, wants to sell a George Grosz painting, "Eclipse of the Sun," to raise money to expand its facility and its collections. The museum bought the painting for $15,000 in 1968 and apparently has found a buyer will will take it off their hands for $15 million. Nice investment. Newsday has a story and a link to the picture itself.

One of the cultural advantages of living in this region is the number of good, small museums one can visit without having to go to Manhattan. The Aldrich in Ridgefield, the Yale Art Gallery and Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, the Florence Griswold in Old Lyme, the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, the New Britain Museum of American Art, the Bruce in Greenwich, the Katonah Museum, the Neuberger in Purchase. They're varied, relatively close, and easy to handle in a couple of hours. They also provide parents with the challenge of figuring out which bribe will work to persuade two kids to spend an afternoon in the car for the privilege of looking at a stodgy old Picasso or Winslow Homer.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

It's Official: The NY Times Says the Lake Placid Olympics Were a Success

The 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid were heavily criticized back then for being poorly organized and debt-ridden, and the organizers themselves were occasionally portrayed as yokels who were either dedicated winter sports enthusiasts but in over their heads as businessmen, or hucksters looking to make a quick buck.

Now, on the 25th anniversary of the start of the Lake Placid games, the New York Times has declared them to be a success: may be the best example of an Olympics that worked, an Olympics that did what it was intended to do. The 1980 Olympics put Lake Placid on the map internationally as a destination resort, brought a boom to the local economy that has yet to ebb, left little debt, bestowed spiritual aid to a flagging Olympic movement and created such good will that Lake Placid is still considered a contender for a future Winter Olympics.

Why would I care about this? I worked there, in a position that had enough responsibility to give me an inside view but not enough to take away the fun. I hope to post some stories and anecdotes and impressions over the next couple of weeks. I'll label them "1980," and if you're interested you can check them out; if not skip on down to Sphere's usual fare.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Eagles & Wolves

Eagles are common on Connecticut's rivers and on the Hudson again, wolves are a success story out west. Tinker and fine tune, yes, but why overhaul the Endangered Species Act?

A Plan to Increase the Sound's Lobster Population

A Connecticut legislator has a plan, modelled on other New England states' programs, to have lobstermen cut a notch in the tails of females lobsters they would normally keep and sell, throw the females back into the Sound, and turn the notches into the state for payment, like bottles being returned for their deposits. The idea is to increase the Sound's lobster population by increasing the number of breeding females.

Presumably conservation officers would be on the lookout for lobstermen keeping lobsters with notched tails, just as they patrol for illegally-kept short lobsters or egg-bearing females.

The New London Day has the story here. There's some information from Sea Grant about the lobster die-off of recent years here.
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