Forced vaccines

This is not a pro-vaccine versus anti-vaccine issue.

On whichever side of the vaccine controversy you stand, this forced vaccine bill, LD798, now being pushed through in Augusta, will target 5,000 schoolchildren in Maine, forbidding them access to school unless their parents submit, even the many who already have life-long vaccine damaged, and even deceased children, to vaccinating their other children.

The people/parents/National medical organizations are not against vaccinations. That is the most important point in this debate.

They are against being forced to vaccinate their children. Added to this is the seeming refusal for the legislators pushing this to recognize the new scientific studies that show what they are calling "Viral Shedding." These new studies turn the old mantra of who can be contagious to whom on its head.

Would it not be prudent, in light of the new data coming in, to — before shutting children out of school and forcing many parents to, as they have testified, leave jobs, sell their homes and leave their home state —  take a deep breath and honestly look at the studies, listen to the physicians.

If you only listen to these two, pro-vaccine, clips, before you listen to the old mantra, you will better understand that allowing your right of choice to be taken from you on one point, you will soon find more choices being stripped from you. On this subject of forced vaccinations alone, they have in the pipeline, if they succeed with this, forced vaccinations for everyone. That means you, too. And if you refuse, loss of driver's license.

Listen to these two clips, for starters. Use the title in YouTube or Google search from a doctor who vaccinates daily: America's Pediatrician Reveals Shocking Autism Discovery.

And (do a Google search) The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons denounces mandatory vaccines, citing "no rigorous safety studies,"  Protect your "Right to Choose."

Become informed. Protect your "Right to Choose."

Marion Tucker-Honeycutt


An opportunity before us

Belfast has a long history of being a leader. In the middle to late part of the 19th century, Belfast was a leader in ship building on the East Coast. In the early 20th century, Belfast was a massive producer of shoes, windows, and seafood products for East Coast markets.

We all know of the more recent history as the largest producer of broiler chickens in the second half of the 20th century, followed by a hub for one of the largest credit card issuers in our country. Today, we have a diverse employment base consisting of small, medium, and large businesses.

To me, Nordic Aquafarms represents another logical step in our history as an economic leader on the coast of Maine and adds to our resiliency by providing another avenue for local people to find employment, not to mention diversifying our municipal tax stream.

We’ve also shown leadership at a city level with our initiatives to go green. Converting city buildings to solar. Banning the bag. The city-wide cleanup day last fall. I could go on. It’s clear by our individual and collective actions that the people of Belfast strive to be the change we want to see in the world.

As we all worry about wasteful carbon emissions caused by mass food production, depletion of our fisheries, destruction wrought by net-pen aquaculture, and our need to produce food closer to home, I see the proposed solution by Nordic Aquafarms as exactly what is needed in the world and in keeping with the green revolution. It’s something right out of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal.

Lastly, there has been a lot of discussion in the city lately about privilege. I think this is a vitally important reflection for all of us to make. It is very easy to be opposed to economic development and tax relief when a person is freed from having to work or are otherwise blessed with strong financial resources. This is a privileged position to find oneself in.

But there are many in this community who are not in that situation, who are not as privileged, and who need more opportunity. Nordic Aquafarms is one such opportunity before us.

Erik Klausmeyer


For the planet and our children

The proposed Nordic Aquafarms industrial-scale Concentrated Aquatic Animal Production facility (CAAPF) has an extremely large carbon footprint. The solar panels they are planning for the roofs of their 22-football-field-sized buildings don’t come near to offsetting the amount of power used for all the pumps, filtration systems, the import and production of feed and water treatment chemicals, heating and cooling of the buildings and trucking.

All this, in addition to the carbon impact of all resources used to build the facility, and loss of carbon sink capability from clearing mature forest. NAF’s technology, not yet attempted at this enormous scale, is not even the low-carbon variant for farmed salmon production.

NAF’s purpose is clearly not to produce a low-carbon source of protein to feed the country; if it were, they would not have chosen land-based salmon, as this is far from the lowest carbon impact option.

In this day and age of climate change, we can’t afford to build a large production, boutique, food facility. The Belfast area is admired for our strong ethics for local, healthy, environmentally responsible food. Our small-scale farms and fisheries demonstrate the vitality and growing potential of a low carbon footprint approach to food. This is what has drawn people here for decades and is at the heart of our community; there are few places in the U.S. that showcase the sustainable food culture as does our region.

If Belfast does truly want to get in the business of producing a larger-scale protein source, then let’s choose one that is right for the planet and for our children. Let’s reserve our aquifers’ water to support economic development that meets our standards, so that we can look our children in the eye and say honestly, “At least here, at home, we didn’t sell out — we did the best we could for your future.”

Susan Cutting


Change the narrative

I have lived in Belfast for 13 years and have been involved in many aspects of this fine community. I support our Co-op, the original Friday Farmer’s Market, our local farmers, our local businesses, our organizations such as Our Town Belfast and the Chamber of Commerce and the overall spirit of “can do” that exists here now as it has in the past.

I also support the Nordic Aquafarms endeavor and our hard-working, sincere City Council members. One is not mutually exclusive of the other. We can welcome forward-thinking, cutting-edge businesses into our town and still embrace the local ideology that is part of what defines Belfast.

There are some people in our community that see themselves as missionaries whose job it is to enlighten the uninformed masses. They have drawn a line in the sand and made it clear that there is no compromise. I take exception to that thinking.

If we can accept diversity of people and different cultures, then why is it difficult for some of us to accept this diversity in the physical makeup of a community? Nordic Aquafarms has been forthcoming in their intent, honest in their information and “gone high,” as Michelle Obama has said, in their response to the rude and downright nasty reactions from some people. Our City Council has been accused of nefarious dealings.

I am one of a large silent majority of citizens that have been saddened and disheartened by the focus of the press on the negativity in our little city. Unfortunately that’s what makes news. It is time to change the narrative.

Diane Braybrook


Can't we agree to disagree?

I’m writing to address points raised by a Northport resident, who wrote in to TRJ, and a Belfast resident who wrote in to the Free Press, both from March 21.

To the Northport resident's points: contrary to her, I am not in favor of the Nordic Aquafarms proposal.  I see no evidence of NAF providing “good jobs” to Belfast residents. Some locals could be hired, but why wouldn’t NAF continue to source people from away for the “good jobs,” leaving minimum wage jobs for the locals? (Why do people so readily believe this foreign corporation's propaganda?)

Next, regarding her “liking NAF” for “helping to sustainably feed the planet.” This is a myth. Salmon are high on the food chain. “Sustainable” looks more like giving the food directly to people rather than a wasteful detour up the food chain to feed the artificial salmon. NAF consistently refuses to tell us what they would feed the fish. We do know that the nutrients required to raise fish such as salmon, could be more efficiently used for humans.

The Northport author goes on to be the proverbial pot calling the kettle black, falsely accusing opponents of lying.

We are all just people here. Can we agree to disagree without mud-slinging?

To the Belfast resident, I support Jan Dodge’s commonsense stance on protecting the environment from Big Water extraction. Your life, mine and Jan’s depend on it.

Jan does see the impending aquaculture boom and that’s the point. Some aquaculture makes sense (sea weed/bivalves for instance) and should be promoted. Behemoth RAS systems like Nordic Aquafarms are too risky, compared to the supposed jobs/tax benefits they promise. I don’t expect to change the authors’ minds (“NAF represents all that is good…” ?) Wish I could.

Lew McGregor



I am writing in response to a letter from a Northport resident, whose statements I am addressing are in quotes, from March 21 in TRJ:

1. “….State and Federal permitting process will confirm that the facility will not damage our local environment…” Just for starters, here is a partial list of chemicals from Nordic Aquafarms' General Application for Waste Discharge License/Maine Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (MEPDES) Permit, per year:

Formalin/Formaldehyde: 678 gallons/year.

Bleach: 1,500 gallons/year

Virkon®: 1,100 lbs.year

Chlorinated Disinfectant and Germicide.

Arasite-S, Formalin-F, and Formacide-B. (Formalin). Active ingredient 37% formaldehyde: 925 gallons a year.

Finquel® or Tricane-S. (Tricaine methanesulfonate): 1.1 lbs a year.

Halamid® Aqua. (Chloramine-T): 1,100 lbs a year.

Ovadine® (PVP Iodine): 160 gallons/year.

Praziquantel. Considered as 100% active. Can be used if fish are suffering from trematode/ cestode infections.

Potassium permanganate. Considered as 97% active. Can be used if fish are suffering from certain parasites and fungal infections in younger fish life-stages.

Terramycin® 200 (oxytetracycline dehydrate, 44% active).

Aquaflor® (florfenicol,; 50% active). Can be used as an in-feed treatment.

Romet® 30/Romet® TC sulfadimethoxine/ormetoprim.

Waste Water Treatment Formic Acid (85%), 18,200 gallons year.

Bleach (more): approx. annual use: 14,800 gallons a year.

Methanol: approx. annual use 1.5 million gallons year.

Aqualife® Multipurpose Cleaner. A biodegradable, nonhazardous cleaner that is designed specifically for use in fish hatcheries, aquaculture facilities, fish and food processing plants, and agricultural farms. Active ingredients: sodium hydroxide (1-5%), the product is phosphate free, contains no volatile organic compounds and is NSF certified for use in food processing facilities. Approximate annual use: 2,232 gallons/year (8,449 l/year).

Note: NAF claims sodium hydroxide is not harmful to fish. A spill in Pennsylvania caused a large fish kill.

2. “In reality the Nordic facility will not be a CAFO by definition….”

A CAFO, as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is an animal feeding operation in which over 1,000 animal units are confined for over 45 days a year. An animal unit is the equivalent of 1,000 pounds of "live" animal weight. NAF will produce 66 million pounds of salmon. NAF is obviously CAFO, a factory farm.

3. “It’s totally false that Belfast gave NAF hundreds of thousands of dollars to come here”

From Bangor Daily News, Feb. 7, 2018: Belfast officials offered to foot the bill for about $240,000 in startup costs to court one of the world’s largest land-based salmon farms, bringing the biggest investment Midcoast Maine has seen in decades. Belfast also will buy land from the water district. The city plans to buy about 40 acres surrounding a reservoir on the Little River, including about 12 acres in Northport on the south side of the reservoir, for an estimated $100,000.

To be continued. I will address more comments from the letter by the Northport resident in coming weeks.

Aimee Moffitt-Mercer


Welcome to America

I recently attended the latest Nordic Aquafarms public hearing. It certainly appears that NAF has learned a few tricks on how American politics can work in our great country.

First find influential government officials to serve as your proxy for your private interests. Next attack the opposition with undesirable and uncomplimentary labels like extremist, xenophile, and NIMBY. Identify these “people” as privileged, elite and not regular middle class. Build divisiveness and discontent in the community. Lastly organize a heavy PR campaign and promise no risk of project failure.

In a country where our environment has so often been mistreated by corporations that seek to make money on our natural resources, why should the so-called “opposition” believe in NAF’s desire to be part of our community and fulfill long-term promises? With a daily harvest up to 200,000 pounds, one bad day can ruin the bay.

John Krueger


Take a breath

Instead of “for” or “against”… let’s talk “win-win-win.”

After attending both “pro-NAF” and “anti-NAF” meetings, the common takeaway is that we are quick to describe ourselves, friends and neighbors as “pro-fish-farm” or “anti-fish-farm.” This oversimplification misses the point with respect to public and regulatory involvement for any proposed project. Any project should move forward only if an analysis shows that it is a “win-win-win” for the area, the economy, and the environment.

Typically any project starts with a proponent’s dreams and desires. Then they begin to discuss generalities and some specifics to gather feedback, and formally propose their project. To date there has been a lot of conjecture about the sustainability of this project as compared to other proposed projects in the area, or other projects underway elsewhere.

While a newly proposed project may be similar to another project, no two installations are alike. It is not possible to directly assume if, or in what capacity, conditions from a previously proposed, permitted, or operational facility should transfer directly or indirectly to a new project without analyzing the entire project proposal and its site specific considerations. Therefore, any potential conclusions or positions for this particular project by the proponent, enthusiasts, skeptics, outside groups, or politicians via comparison are premature.

It is important to remember that project design goals proposed in public meetings so far, or even in an original discharge permit application, are still the project proponent’s dreams and desires until the project is fully permitted. We should take everything said to date with an understanding that it is an exploratory and fluid process.

We can all understand one’s desire to “correct the record” as we see it, but the certified mailer I received from the proponent prior to the last meeting describing the project “facts” was premature and unnecessary. The irony is that this mailer was responding to public comments made by others that were also premature and unwary. Someone should break this cycle.

Once fully proposed in permit applications, any potential fatal flaws or concerns will be identified, and assuming all flaws and concerns can be adequately addressed, project conditions will then be developed. The proponent starts the permitting process, but does not control the permit conditioning process. After others condition the project, the proponent then gets to decide for itself, and its investors, if the actual conditions for the “win-win-win” for the area, economy, and environment is still in line with their own goals.

So please, let’s take a breath and try to put aside some of the history to date, and contemplate the optimal “win-win-win” for our little corner of the world. Hopefully we can do this together as a community.

Michael Lannan, P.E.


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