An invitation

Dear Belfast and surrounding communities,

I would like to introduce myself as your community liaison for Nordic Aquafarms. I have lived and worked in Belfast for 15 years. My recent role in Regional School Unit 71 encouraged my love for education. As I look to the future in this company, I am so eager to share the opportunities for collaboration in science, engineering, and food sustainability education. Nordic Aquafarms has so much to offer our students! Maine is an aquaculture-strong state, and given our desire to give our students future opportunities, I was thrilled that Nordic Aquafarms chose Belfast.

I believe in this company and I believe in their commitment to our community. This community is important in many ways to Nordic Aquafarms. I felt that sentiment come through in our past communications, being a direct neighbor to the proposed facility, and even more so as their newest employee.

Right now, our city Planning Board is tasked with reviewing our permit applications. Tons of data include deep studies done by numerous scientists, engineers and consultants over a long period of time. Thousands of hours and dollars invested in those studies also include thoughtful considerations of the concerns from the citizens of Belfast.

Do you have questions, comments or concerns? I am happy to connect you to the engineers and experts involved in this project, so please come in and ask! Anyone is welcome to come into our office at 159 High St., Monday through Friday. I will brew the coffee and bring you a seat at the table.

Warmest regards,

Jacki Cassida

Nordic Aquafarms

Lions thanks

The Camden Lions Club would like to thank our community and summer visitors for their tremendous support this summer with the returnable bottles and cans program at the Camden, Hope, Lincolnville and Rockport transfer station, Mid-Coast Solid Waste. The volume of returnables has increased substantially, and the Lions are so grateful for these gifts.

The Lions’ labor is free to the community and is part of our “we serve” personal mandate. A crew of Lions volunteers goes to the transfer station early in the morning, twice a week, rain or shine, to sort and organize the returnables.

The Camden Lions Club community support includes donations for student scholarships, for feeding senior citizens in need, for individual sight and hearing problems and for various youth programs.

So, thank you so much for your trust and continued support of this Camden Lions Club work.

Peter Martin

King Lion

Response to 'fishy business'

Haakon Stang, a person from Fredrikstad, Norway, published a letter in The Republican Journal (Aug. 29 issue) about Nordic Aquafarms regarding excessive noise from our facility in Fredrikstad.

Why would he do that? We did some checking. Some simple research has revealed a connection between him and Lawrence Reichard in Belfast. Given Reichard's history of constantly attacking Nordic Aquafarms with misleading stories, it is no surprise that the story at hand is in the same avenue. The approach is also the same “first supportive, then against.”

The pattern we have seen from this camp is attempts to latch onto truths and half-truths, and then twist them into dark and misleading stories. The latest letter in The Republican Journal was no different. Let´s address the facts.

Yes, Nordic Aquafarms did kick out a Danish contractor in Fredrikstad that was causing problems and delays and we assumed control of the project ourselves. The same contractor has been in conflict with three other smolt farms in Norway, and also a land-based project in Switzerland. Nordic Aquafarms finished the job ahead of the contractor´s schedule and grew enormously on this experience. And yes, there are legal claims coming from this.

Yes, there was a blower fan a very short distance from some homes (significantly closer than in Belfast) that did cause some unexpected noise in the commissioning phase. Dialog with neighbors was pursued and the noise has already been significantly reduced. NAF Fredrikstad continues to work with the neighbors to address any issue or concern they might have.

In Belfast, blowers will not be placed in the direction of residential housing, will be of a different make, and will not cause similar problems. The benefits of having done previous projects is that you learn from every one of them — all projects work through commissioning issues. Belfast will benefit from this learning and also highly professional U.S. construction partners.

Important progress and learning are turned into dark stories attacking Nordic Aquafarms again with local Belfast assistance. Great companies are created from solving challenges and moving forward. Anyone who recognizes successful industries are created, will confirm that.

Marianne Naess

Commercial Director

Nordic Aquafarms Inc.

Wishing ill luck

My wife and I stopped by Belfast yesterday afternoon to meet my son, returned on vacation from D.C., and his mom, for dinner. Untypically, we arrived for our engagement with 10 minutes to spare, and since the forces of fate had parked us right next to the stylish downtown offices of the proposed salmon farm, I took the opportunity to visit with the "public relations" officers and deliver some few shreds of the pieces of my mind which I have still intact.

Waiting for my turn to "present and deliver," I listened to the exchange between these two trained company officials and a senior resident of inland Brooks; listened to their polite and well-reasoned assurances that the imagined interference with traffic flow and other infrastructure would happen so slowly as to be unnoticeable … "rather like slow-boiling a lobster," I opined from the sidelines.

When my turn came, I was brief and to the point, identifying myself as a "distant" resident of Brooklin, Maine, and expressing my grave concern for the health of our bay. I declined the well-meaning attempts at rebuttal, assuring the officers that "I had heard what I had heard," and that nothing they could say would convince me of the advisability or morality of their business venture. Politely wishing them nothing but ill luck, I left for my dinner date, seizing the hand of my wife waiting in the car for emotional support.

The experience was profoundly moving to me, and somewhat therapeutic. I have no idea of its effect on the company officers, but I would urge anyone who is concerned for the future health and sanity of this beautiful bay and its inhabitants to engage in a similar "exchange." The opportunity is so available.

Thank you in advance for the forum you present, as a newspaper, to this community on this vital issue.

David Putnam

Brooklin, formerly of Northport

No doctors

Just something to think about all you folks who think socialized medicine is the answer to our health care issues. My wife and I recently spent 10 days in Maritime Canada. During our short stay, two hospital emergency rooms were temporarily closed with no idea when they would reopen. The reason, there were no doctors available.

Those folks like myself who are opposed to any government run health care system are concerned that doctors will leave the medical field or not pursue it at all. We are currently experiencing a shortage of nurses and it seems doctors as well, as many health care facilities, including mine, are filling the ranks with nurse practitioners and physician assistants, as opposed to doctors.

Are doctors leaving the field, or moving on to more lucrative options? I don’t know. Do you?

Leo H. Mazerall Jr.

Stockton Springs

Learning the facts

I am baffled by Nordic Aquafarms' response to the Aug. 29 letter to the editor by Haakon Stang of Fredrikstad, Norway, in which Haakon writes about the large amounts of dust, and loud and increasing noise, emanating from Nordic's industrial fish farm in Fredrikstad.

Nordic's Marianne Naess asks why Haakon would write such a letter; but Haakon's letter states why: to warn Belfast about Nordic's false and unkept promises of no noise.

Naess attacks Haakon's credibility by linking him to me, and by saying that I have a history of constantly attacking Nordic Aquafarms.

Yes, I know Haakon. And he knows me. Does that make any less legitimate Haakon's statements about 60 decibels of Nordic noise recorded inside his neighbors' homes? Do Nordic supporters know each other? Of course they do. In fact, Nordic recently hired one of them.

Yes, I do have a history of exposing problems with Nordic Aquafarms. I make no apologies for writing critically about a large, powerful, multinational company that wants to clear-cut and pave over dozens of acres of the beautiful, carbon-sequestering Belfast woods; that wants to dump 1,600 pounds of nitrogen and 7.7 million gallons of effluent per day in Belfast Bay; and that wants to endanger our water supply by using 630 million gallons of fresh water per year from our aquifer and watershed.

Naess attempts to discredit me and Haakon by saying we employ the same tactic of “first supportive, then against.” Well, there's a simple explanation for that, for me, for Haakon and for Haakon's Fredrikstad neighbors: It's true — we were supportive and now we're against. It's called learning the facts and changing one's mind upon learning the facts.

Naess says Nordic's Belfast fans will not cause noise problems similar to those in Fredrikstad. But Nordic told Fredrikstad there would be no noise. And Nordic said there would be no pollution in Belfast. By its own subsequent admission that is patently false.

For an entire year, Nordic's website has misrepresented the length of its effluent discharge pipe. Nordic has falsely said that farm salmon is the most efficient way to produce protein. Contradicting its own statements, Nordic falsely told a legislative committee that fish can't escape from land-based fish farms. Nordic knowingly filed false information with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. And on and on. With a track record like that, why should we believe Nordic's soothing assurances about noise?

Naess says that “great companies are created from solving challenges and moving forward.” That's a nice PR way of saying Nordic is young and inexperienced. And that's the problem. We in Belfast don't want to be Nordic's guinea pigs. We don't want to be the lab experiment in which Nordic attempts to do a project more than five times the size of the project it has already blown in Fredrikstad.

Lawrence Reichard

East Orland