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Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and Gov. M. Jodi Rell called the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s decision to approve the Broadwater Project Thursday morning a “disgrace” and “atrocity.” Lawmakers look to clear the names of women accused of witchcraft nearly 300 years ago. And House Speaker James Amann, D-Milford, creates a task force to examine animal cruelty.

Top Lawmakers Cry Foul Over Broadwater Approval

After 38-months of reviewing more than 7,100 documents related to the construction of a floating liquefied natural gas platform in Long Island Sound, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the Broadwater Project.

And FERC’s 5-0 vote has state officials in Connecticut crying foul.

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said Thursday that he will petition FERC for a rehearing, then “mount an all-out court appeal if the FERC refuses to reverse, as we expect. I will fight this project at every agency and in every court up to the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary.” The decision would be appealed to the Court of Appeals in Washington DC.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell approves of Blumenthal’s stance against the project saying in a press release, “FERC’s decision today is nothing short of a disgrace. It is an insult to the people of Connecticut and New York, a discourtesy to New York Governor David A. Paterson – who has been in office less than a week – and an assault on the most precious environmental asset our two states possess: the reinvigorated Long Island Sound.”

Broadwater Energy’s Senior Vice President John Hritcko said, “This decision is an important step forward in bringing new clean, reliable, affordable natural gas supply to a region where prices are volatile and climbing, air quality is a concern and is located at the end of the pipeline delivery system. Without new energy supply, energy consumers will continue to face volatile and increasing natural gas prices in New York and Connecticut.”

Click here to read Blumenthal’s press release and hereto read FERC’s.

Justice 300 Years in the Making

Rep. Michael Lawlor, D-East Haven, opened up a press conference Thursday by saying, “This is not the most important issue the legislature will consider this year,” but “it’s the obligation of state government to set the record straight.”

On witches that is.

The Avery family of New Preston and Laurie Cayer of Mansfield are willing to take the posthumous vindication for the wrongdoing Connecticut’s Colonial government took upon their ancestors, Mary Sanford of Hartford and Lydia Gilbert of Windsor.

Christine Stuart photo

Addie Avery, 14, a ninth generation decedent of Sanford, said she was seen dancing around a fire and drinking something that was presumed to be alcohol. And for that she was accused of being a witch. Sanford, a 39-year-old mother of five, was tried and hanged. “We would like to exonerate her,” Avery said.

Cayer said her relative, Lydia Gilbert, was accused and convicted of causing Thomas Allyn’s gun to fire by means of witchcraft. She said Lydia’s fate is unknown, but “the reasonable probability is that she was hanged.”

Sen. Andrew Roraback, R-Goshen, who sponsored the resolution, said “It’s never too late to right a wrong.” He said when the “mob mentality takes over there are victims,” and unfortunately there’s a “timeless element to human nature,” because that mob mentality still exists today.

Lawlor called the resolution a symbolic gesture. Massachusetts and Virginia have passed similar resolutions.

The Judiciary Committee heard public testimony on the resolution Thursday, but in order to move forward for a vote of the full General Assembly, the Judiciary Committee will have to vote on it by 5 p.m. Monday, otherwise it dies. 

Animal Cruelty Task Forced Formed

A task force appointed Thursday by Speaker of the House James Amann, D-Milford, wants to know if children who abuse animals continue the pattern of violence as adults?

“Data clearly shows a future penchant for violent behavior among young people that abuse animals,” Amann said.

Christine Stuart photo

The FBI uses animal abuse as one of the four indicators of future violent behavior, however, only two states mandate that veterinarians report cases of animal abuse or cruelty, Rep. Diana Urban, D-North Stonington, said.

Urban, who was asked to chair the eight member task force, said in 2004 there were 327 court cases related to animal abuse and only 35 ended in a guilty pleas or convictions, while 193 were nolled. In 2005 there were 343 court cases involving animal abuse and of those cases 34 plead guilty or were convicted and 272 were nolled.

Urban said there’s currently a case pending in court involving a Plainville man who drilled holes in a pitbulls head because the dog had injured one of his children. She said in another instance a child microwaved a Chihuahua and the Department of Children and Families couldn’t mandate counseling for that child.

Amann said it’s up to the task force to figure out “how was can stop this circle of violence.” He said the task force will report back to the legislature before the start of the next session. 

Click here for the Office of Legislative Research report on Connecticut’s animal cruelty laws.