Poor Richard Cook, the Mashpee, Mass., fisherman who wants to put in a little (two-acre) oyster farm a quarter mile off the summer homes of rich people in that Cape Cod town. He would seem to have gained the permits, etc., needed for the project, but..... The rich folks (who include the Krafts, who own the New England Patriots) are using every legal trick in the book and their influence in the Massachusetts legislature to stop what would be a very quiet, low key and environmentally friendly project that speaks to the the nifty idea of expanding one of New England most lucrative (and relatively few) cash crops -- shellfish. The persistent Mr. Cook has been trying to do the oyster farm since 2011 but failed to adequately consider the ability of a few well-heeled people to use America's stuck-in-molasses civil law and legislative Christmas-treeing to stop anything they don't like by making the lawyers' fees too expensive for most people.
In fact, such oyster farms used to be all up and and down the sandy sections of southern New England's coast. They were considered charming, a daily character-building example of hard work and a healthy connection to Mother Nature. They provided inspiration for many painters. Among other benefits, such shellfish farms help filter and clean the water. Popponesset Bay would be better having the oyster farm.
The summer gentry seek to create a bogus "marine sanctuary'' via a bill on Beacon Hill to cover the area where Mr. Cook wants to set up his oyster farm. (I suspect that these summer folks love to eat oysters -- from somewhere!) Sadly for Mr. Cook, he doesn't have the cash for campaign contributions that might get the attention of the most important solons.
Rich summer folks increasingly throw their weight around, and not just in their summer colonies, and many seem willing to stop anything in their sight that might remind them that other people have to make money, if not from "investments,'' even if it's in as traditional and healthy sector as shellfish aquaculture. (The battles against coastal wind turbines within distant sight of mansions is a more famous war.)
I have nothing against rick folks -- some of my favorite relatives and friends are in that clan! But I don't like grossly unequal application of influence.
Mr. Cook has already moved the proposed oyster farm a bit further away from the rich folks on, who often act as though they own everything from from their front porches to the oceanside horizon. But nothing is enough for people who think that they can buy anything.
Still, I suppose that it should be noted that town officials themselves seem to favor the farm, despite the big property taxes paid by the Krafts.